Efficient, High-Torque Electric Vehicle Motor

QM Power
Advanced Electric Vehicle Motors with Low or No Rare Earth Content
Image of QM Power's technology
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,917,392
Location: 
Lee's Summit, MO
Project Term: 
01/01/2012 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Critical Need: 
Rare earths are naturally occurring minerals with unique magnetic properties that are used in electric vehicle (EV) motors and wind generators. Because these minerals are expensive and in limited supply, alternative technologies must be developed to replace rare-earth-based magnets in motors and generators. Alternatives to rare earths will contribute to the cost-effectiveness of EVs and wind generators, facilitating their widespread use and drastically reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
QM Power is developing a new type of electric motor with the potential to efficiently power future generations of EVs without the use of rare-earth-based magnets. Many of today's EV motors use rare earth magnets to efficiently provide torque to the wheels. QM Power's motors would contain magnets that use no rare earth minerals, are light and compact, and can deliver more power with greater efficiency and at reduced cost. Key innovations in this project include a new motor design with iron-based magnetic materials, a new motor control technique, and advanced manufacturing techniques that substantially reduce the cost of the motor. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a cost-effective EV motor that offers the rough peak equivalent of 270 horsepower.
Impact Summary: 
If successful, QM Power's redesigned EV motor could be a cost-effective and rare-earth-free alternative to traditional EV motors, producing comparable power at lower cost.
Security: 
The U.S. produces a small fraction globally of industrial rare earths. Developing alternatives to the use of rare earths has the potential to reduce our dependence on these materials and will have a positive impact on our national economic and energy security.
Environment: 
The transportation and electric power sectors account for nearly 75% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions each year. Better magnets would support the widespread use of EVs and wind power, significantly reducing these emissions.
Economy: 
The U.S. spends nearly $1 billion per day on imported petroleum. Improvements in magnet technology would enable a broader use of EVs, which would help insulate our economy from unexpected spikes in the price of oil.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact: 
Mr. John Lebo
Partners
Smith Electric Vehicles
Oak Ridge National Laboratory