While motor designs in most electric and hybrid vehicles rely on rare-earth magnets, UQM Technologies was recently granted a U.S. patent for a motor design that utilizes magnets that are more readily available.
The Longmont-based company announced Tuesday that it received a patent Jan. 6, covering the motor’s “unique magnet geometry and method of manufacturing the motor.” The company said the performance of its new motor will be comparable to its current design and that the innovation will give the company more flexibility in the future, depending on costs of magnets in the future.
“The patented technology that we’ve developed provides a viable option to existing rare-earth motor technology, limiting exposure for us and our customers to the price and political volatilities of rare-earth magnets,” said Eric R. Ridenour, President and Chief Executive Officer of UQM Technologies, Inc. “We are now in the prototype stage and the first samples are meeting our objectives, providing us with the validation to move into the next phase of development.”
The development of this patented technology resulted in part from a $4 million Advanced Research and Development Grant from the Department of Energy. The grant was awarded to UQM to further its development of electric and hybrid motors that utilized non-rare earth magnets.
UQM Technologies develops and manufactures high-efficiency electric motors for various industries and specializes propulsion systems for energy-efficient vehicles.