UQM's electric motor breakthrough

The possibility of increased electric motorsport activity is raised by a claim by US company UQM Technologies in Frederick, CO, for a revolutionary breakthrough in the performance of electric vehicle motors. "This is perhaps the most significant discovery in the history of our company," said CEO William G. Rankin. The UQM system is said to provide more than double the torque and power (speed) capability of the EV industry's present best-performing motor technology

UQM's electric motor breakthrough

UQM says it has developed and successfully tested a permanent magnet electric motor system that achieves a 10:1 constant power speed ratio (CPSR). Like conventional gasoline engines, battery electric, hybrid electric and fuel-cell vehicle propulsion systems currently combine their torque capability (for starting and low-speed operation) and constant power (for speed) by means of a transmission and multiple mechanical gears. In January 1998, UQM received a patent for a method of 'phase advance control' of permanent magnet motors that eliminates the need for gears in its road vehicle applications.

Relative to the booming worldwide EV industry, motorsport based on alternative power sources is still in its infancy, although established in several countries. The FIA Electro-Solar Cup, covering circuit races, hillclimbs and rallies, caters for vehicles in eight categories: solar powered racing vehicles, solar and/or electric prototype vehicles, solar and/or electric series production vehicles, vehicles for daily use, solar and/or electric lightweight vehicles, electric single-seaters, electric sports-prototypes, hybrid electric vehicles, and alternative energy vehicles. The series has seven events in 2002, including Michelin's Challenge Bibendum [Sept 17] starting tomorrow (Saturday) at Hockenheim, Germany. There are four FIA events this year in Italy, and one each in Austria and Japan (at Suzuka).

There are a number of competitions in the USA for electric, hybrid electric and other vehicles. The Electric Auto Association (EAA) will stage its 'Silicon Valley Rally' show tomorrow at Stanford University, CA, showcasing a range of competition cars. For several years, the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) in Portland, OR, has promoted (curiously silent) drag racing.


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