Ricardo has been awarded GBP190,000 (US$254,000) funding from the British Office of Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV), through a partnership with Innovate UK.

The grant will help investigate the use of thermal management methods to improve performance and efficiency of electric motors and power electronics used in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Running for six months, the project aligns with the UK government’s aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing electrification across a range of transport sectors. The focus of Ricardo’s work will be the development of an electric motor concept with the aim of achieving a 15%-20% improvement in performance compared with that of current products.

If successful, this will provide vehicle manufacturers as early as 2021, with the capability of developing products able to meet Automotive Council UK motor and power electronics specific power targets for 2030.

The concept will enable 10%-20% motor downsizing and weight reduction, providing improved vehicle packaging opportunities. It will also help to bring down the total cost of each vehicle. This will help support the UK government’s drive to increase the rate of electrification across a range of transport sectors and is applicable to battery EVs, hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid EVs and fuel cell drivelines. The design principles demonstrated in the new motor can also be applied across aerospace, off-highway and other markets.

Using Ricardo’s Model Based Development thermal and electromagnetic digital design and analysis tools, the company’s engineers will develop the concept and then assess it in a relevant automotive environment, in legislative and real-world driving cycles.

During the project, they will take the opportunity to evolve and update the design and analysis tools to reduce  development time of motors and drives by 20% to 30%.

“Ricardo’s R&D in novel and disruptive cooling technologies and thermal management is already much in demand with global vehicle manufacturers,” said Ricardo head of R&D, Ricard Gordon.

“We are very appreciative of this latest award of funding which will enable our research to deliver near-term, significant efficiency and performance benefits for global transport manufacturers as they seek innovative technology solutions to accelerate the development and introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles.”

Within the same funding stream, Ricardo has recently received finance for another electric vehicle research and development project, to digitalise electric and hybrid vehicle development to reduce cost, risk and time to market for manufacturers.