Rare Earth Free Innovative Truck Traction (REFITT) will see the full commercialisation of HDSRM, a unique, rare-earth magnet free traction motor concept for use in electric commercial vehicles. The commercial vehicle sector is not well supported by Tier 1 suppliers of electric traction motors, necessary to see the wide spread adoption of zero emissions electric vehicles in our cities. This new traction motor technology has already been proven to TRL6 in a 7.5 tonne parallel hybrid truck and is currently being readied for trial in a range extended truck. REFITT will allow Newcastle University spin-out company, Advanced Electric Machines Ltd, to become such a Tier 1.
HDSRM takes the benefits of Switched Reluctance Motor technology and overcomes its weaknesses, through the use of a patent-pending drive configuration, allowing a six-phase motor to be driven from an industry standard three phase inverter. This configuration has been demonstrated to increase performance whilst reducing torque ripple and acoustic noise, to levels equivalent to machines which need rare earth magnets; but without the need to use these expensive materials which fall at the top of the EU's critical list. REFITT will support Advanced Electric Machines Ltd in fully proving this traction motor technology, enabling a full process of design for manufacture, undertaking extended vehicle trails in trucks and buses whilst also undertaken the off-vehicle testing to fully prove the system.
The company will also prepare itself to become a supplier acceptable to OEMs, putting in place quality management systems and processes and establishing world class facilities. The company is already partnered with a Truck manufacturer and has established links with Bus, Taxi and even Boat builders. REFITT will therefore establish a new leading supplier of traction drives, offering class leading technology, in the critical but poorly served commercial vehicle sector.