With new technology developed by a Canadian company, the work of two electric motors can be accomplished by one machine.
Exro Technologies has built what’s been described as a better electronic brain for electric motors and powertrains. The company’s unique coil driver, or inverter, makes electric motors able to adapt to changing conditions and deliver both speed and torque as required.
What that means is that on an e-bike equipped with an Exro coil driver you won’t slow down going up a hill.
Exro has been field testing their patented technology on an electric commuter bike made by Vancouver-based Motorino. Overall performance increased by 20 per cent and up to 50 per cent when climbing hills.
Exro Chief Executive Officer Sue Ozdemir, who was previously the CEO of General Electric’s Small Industrial Motors Division, said that Exro makes what it calls coil drives which are also known as inverters or controllers.
“It’s like a new brain for electric motors,” she said from Calgary, where Exro operates an Innovation Centre.
She said Exro is focusing on the mobility industry, a multi-billion dollar sector which includes everything from e-bikes and e-motorcycles to e-trucks and e-snowmobiles.
The results of the Motorino e-bike tests, she said, show that Exro’s technology can “increase torque and speed through a controller controlling the motor intelligently. “
The controller uses an algorithm to intelligently determine how the engine performs in response to real world conditions.
‘No, it’s not artificial intelligence,” she said. “Essentially what we’re doing is creating an electric gear in a single motor.”
Exro’s technology doesn’t make the electric motor more efficient, she said. It makes the whole powertrain — which includes the motor, battery and controller — more efficient.
Ozdemir said Exro is the first company with this kind of technology on the market.
“There is no one else doing this,” she said.
“As the world transitions to electric vehicles, we haven’t spent enough time to look into the components to help that transition. We’ll need new motors drives and new parts and pieces that keep up with this emerging market.”
Steve Miloshev, founder and owner of Motorino , was surprised by the results because his e-bikes use Bafang motors, which are the standard all over the world.
“Considering that this is a very reputable company, to have improvement of that much is a considerable achievement,” Miloshev said.
He said standard Motorino e-bikes were no match for the Exro-modified e-bike in a race.
Although the Motorino bike was retrofitted with an Exro coil driver, don’t expect to see a do-it-yourself kit on the market anytime soon. The retrofit included installing a microcontroller unit on the bike and Exro engineers helping Motorino rewind the coils of the motor. Instead of making a product for the consumer market, Exro is focusing on their technology being adopted by electric motor manufacturers.
Exro said that the controller “automatically and seamlessly selects the appropriate configuration in real time so that torque demand efficiency are optimized.”
Exro’s is the first company to achieve success in developing this kind of new technology for electric motors and powertrains, according to Engineering.com.
“The method uses a combination of switching circuitry and a microcontroller running a dynamic power management algorithm to determine the optimal configuration of coils needed to produce the desired torque-speed profile,” Engineer.com said in Two Motors in One: Intelligent Controls Efficiently Delivers Torque and Speed.