May 02

Remy’s ‘game changing’ EV motor reduces dependence on foreign rare earth metals

 

At the recent EDTA conference in Washington, D.C., Indiana-based Remy International, Inc. said it has an answer for a growing dilemma facing the electric and hybrid vehicle industry.

While Americans are thinking about improving batteries to reduce dependency on foreign oil, at the same time, increased reliance on permanent magnet electric motors stands to set us up for a new dependency on foreign-sourced rare earth metals.

Most of the world’s supply is controlled by China which has been accused of aggressively manipulating it for political and economic gain.


Remy supplies motors mostly for larger vehicles, but is posturing itself to handle the burgeoning electric and hybrid automotive market as well.

In an effort to fortify America’s advanced-tech transportation future, in May 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy finalized a $60.2 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant for Remy to develop its HVH electric motor technology.

A hybrid version of this motor looks like a fix for the China question, and apparently government investment in this motivated company is paying off.

China now produces about 95-percent of rare earth metals. Last September it was accused of stopping supply of this vital resource to Japan to punish it for detaining one of its ships, thus demonstrating the potentially antagonistic political will of the Chinese government.

While circumstances surrounding that incident were obscured, it remains clear that world supply is threatened. According to a Wharton school publication, in the second half of 2010, China slashed export quotas by 72 percent, then in the first half of 2011 further restricted exports by 35 percent compared to the year prior. The prices for some rare earths have spiked 1,000 percent. It is estimated global demand for these minerals might more than double by 2020 from last year’s 125,000 metric tons.

For now the advanced-tech industry continues to use permanent magnet motors, but should they become prohibitively expensive, Remy says it has an ace up its sleeve.

An American solution

Last week GM-Volt.com was told that Remy’s legal department advised its executives against interviewing with us. This was because in March, Remy International, Inc. filed an S-1 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a $100 million initial public stock offering.


The Remy HVH250 uses its proprietary stator (outer part on lower right). This design can be made with either a permanent magnet or AC-induction rotor. Remy says it has an off-the-shelf EV solution. It has signed with Zap to supply its EVs, AMP to power its converted Chevrolet Equinox, MotoCzysz, and others to supply their electric drive needs.

Not wanting to excite the price one way or the other prior to an estimated summer IPO, Remy told us it will have to wait. It did say what was on public record was fair game however.

And fortunately, we have a complete public recording from Remy’s Global Director of Product Engineering, Andrew Worley. At the the breakout session titled, “Game-Changing Technologies,” he laid out the case for a motor Remy developed that does away with the need for rare earths.

Worley has his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Leeds in the U.K., where he received his undergraduate degree as well. He earned an MBA from Purdue and a Certificate of Lean Process Development from the University of Michigan. Following is what he said …

Prelude

“I’d like to start this afternoon’s presentation by presenting a scenario, a question if you like,” Worley said, “and then during my presentation I am going to present what I believe, what we at Remy believe, is a solution to this particular dilemma.”

With a tinge of drama, he set the stage outlining a typical possibility.

“So here’s the scenario, the dilemma: We’re all here involved in hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles in one way or another,” he said, “Just imagine a scenario: You’ve done your market research, you’ve done your engineering, your development, you’re ready for manufacture. You’ve got a couple orders coming in. Life looks good for 20-50-100,000 units a year. But there’s a critical element within all of our products, with most of peoples’ products, which is rare earth.”

He noted that those listening had likely attended an earlier session, titled, “Materials and Rare Earth Metals: Ramping Up For the Future.”

“Many of you here today sat through earlier, I’m sure, talking about rare earth magnets and what the challenges are,” he said, “So it is a challenge, it is a risk.

Worley showed a slide illustrating that Remy has over 100 years experience, 5,500 employees, 23 facilities in 10 countries and produces 17 million units annually. Within Remy Inc., is Remy Electric Motors for which he works.

“We do high output traction motors and generators for hybrid and electric vehicles. We believe we have the highest power density electric motors on the market,” Worley said, “We have proven reliability and durability; we have over 90,000 motors on the road, over a billion miles and very high reliability. We’ve been in this market since 2002 and so no stranger to this technology at all.”

19th century technology reinvented

“So, about this game changing technology. We’re reducing our dependence on rare earth permanent magnets,” he said, “I think most of us are aware rare earth permanent magnet motors are the most popular choice for our applications today because of a high torque density, high efficiency, wide range of constant power; good designs, quiet, have low torque ripple.”

However these motors leave OEMs vulnerable to the rare earth supply question, he said.

“But we keep having this question. And the solution is a technology that’s been around for a long time,” Worley said, “We just think there are some things we can do with that to address some of the perceived disadvantages.”

Remy’s answer is a twist on a motor first developed in the 1880s.

“And the solution is the induction motor. The humble induction motor has been around for a very, very long time, since Nicola Tesla discovered it many, many, many decades ago,” Worley said. “I’m going to talk a little bit about the winding technology we use in our machines. What we call the High Voltage Hairpin, or HVH winding.”


Remy says it has an elegant solution for the rare earth dilemma.

According to a Remy white paper on the design:

In contrast to conventional roundwire windings, the HVH™ stator winding uses precision-formed rectangular wires. Multiple layers of interlocking “hairpins” produce a superior slot fill (up to 73 percent vs. 40 percent for typical round-wire windings),” the paper says, “This patented design also creates a shorter end turn space than round-wire stators, thereby reducing heat and improving the motor’s torque and power density, and lends itself to robust construction at the critical connections between the conductors. Combined, the high slot fill and shorter end turn space reduce the winding resistance causing less heat generation. The HVH™ windings are well-suited to liquid cooling that further enhances performance and reliability.

This design can be used with either a permanent magnet rotor or AC-induction rotor.

Worley contrasted traditional concentrated stator windings with Remy’s innovation.

“A concentrated winding is great in some applications – doesn’t make a very good induction machine,” Worley said, “Our [HVH] winding has low loss, and we use oil cooling which is good for not only a permanent magnet machine, but also an induction machine. So we’re seeing some of what we already have in our permanent magnet motors translates very nicely over into induction machines.”

He then addressed what he called misconceptions about induction motors.

“The first one is they can’t deliver the same performance,” Worley said. “Well, I’ve just shown here. I’ll explain the graph (see below). It’s quite busy; the dotted lines represent continuous performance from three different machine technologies. The solid lines represent peak performance, so that’s performance for up to 60 seconds. The red lines – the dotted and the solid ones – represent the varied permanent magnet motors.”


Dotted lines show continuous performance between a permanent magnet motor (red line) and Remy’s AC-induction motors (black=aluminum rotor, yellow=copper rotor). Solid lines represent peak performance of the same. Increasing system voltage (purple arrow) improves the AC-induction motors’ torque and efficiency.

Permanent magnet motors usually outperform induction motors, he said, but not in this case.

“You can see that typically they sit above the black and the yellow lines. The black line would be an induction machine [with HVH winding] with an aluminum rotor, the yellow line being an induction machine with a copper rotor [and HVH winding],” Worley said, “What I’d like to point out to you is over towards the left you can see the induction machines can deliver comparable performance to the permanent magnet machines and of course that’s dependent on a bunch of things including the cooling and electromagnetic design.”

He described how Remy further improved on Nicola Tesla’s design.

“As you move up in speed for the same system voltage, the induction machines deliver less performance than the permanent magnet machines, but that’s the purpose of the purple arrow,” Worley said, “If you increase the system voltage you can get more torque at higher speeds. Now an advantage of induction machines over the PM is you can increase the system voltage. With PM it’s always a concern because of back EMF [electromotive force].”


The High Voltage Hairpin (HVH) winding can be combined with an aluminum or copper rotor and do away with need for rare earth-based permanent magnet rotors.

Worley said his demonstration showed proof that EVs and hybrids do not need rare earths.

“And the message from this slide really is by working together to develop a system with the OEMs and everybody involved in developing the system we can actually get to the same performance; equivalent performance,” he said, “The next point I’d just like to talk about is efficiency. In general induction machines are believed to not have such good efficiency as the permanent magnet machines. What I’ve shown in this slide is efficiency beginning from the three different motor technologies. I think what’s interesting is at high speed where many of our applications operate and where people tend to be very concerned about efficiency, induction machines are equivalent or in some cases slightly better than the permanent magnet machines in terms of their efficiency.”

It’s a win-win, Worley said.

“So using the same battery, inverter, cooling system and stator, at full load at a high speed we’re getting equivalent or better efficiency on this,” he said, “So, my conclusion here, the message here, is induction machines can provide a viable alternative. And I think the important thing here is: all of this simulation, all of the results I put up on the screen are based on taking an existing permanent magnet motor, removing the rotor, and inserting an induction rotor. So there’s a minimal disruption to the topology of the vehicle, minimal disruption to the systems integration, and build that’s already been done.”


Some may remember the Remy name as Delco Remy, as it was called while a GM division. The now independent company’s HVH permanent magnet motors are extremely efficient. If needed, they can be made into a hybrid AC-induction design and remain competitive.

Worley finished by explaining that Remy is positive rare earth supply need not be a concern.

“So in conclusion, we believe we have an option here. I think like everybody in the room, I very much hope that the rare earth dilemma turns out to be something we don’t have to worry about, but always of course you worry about,” Worley said, “It’s the things you don’t think about that bite you. So here at Remy we have developed what we believe is an option where we can reduce our dependency on rare earth materials, and give maximum benefits to our customers.”

Prior to its IPO, Remy has taken a conservative stance by not talking to the press. Behind the scenes, its senior management is obviously quite bullish. Its motors could be made for electric or hybrid trucks, autos, and motorcycles. They were represented as a home-grown solution that helps America’s energy independence from antagonistic suppliers with no down side.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 56


  1. 1
    Dave G

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    May 2nd, 2011 (7:40 am)

    Induction motors are best for EVs and EREVs.

    Permenent magnet motors have higher efficiency at their peak output, but lower average efficiency throughout their operating range. Since EVs and EREVS typically operate the electric motor no where near peak output, Induction is more efficient in these applications.

    Induction motors are also smaller, lighter, and less expensive.

    Tesla uses induction motors in the Roadster and Model S. The GM EV-1 also used an induction motor.

    From what I’ve heard, GM has not said if the Volt uses an induction motor or not.


  2. 2
    George S. Bower

     

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    May 2nd, 2011 (8:46 am)

    It would have been interesting if the graph had efficiency islands on it so one could make a direct comparison.

    Are the Volts motors related in some way to the EV1 Delco Remy motor??


  3. 3
    Dan Petit

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    May 2nd, 2011 (8:55 am)

    This is a very exciting topic that has many more “wins” than first described.

    First, Remy makes the best quality in aftermarket alternators (and starters), and is also the very best deal by far when it is time for you to buy an alternator for your ICE. Remy is extremely cost competitive at the retail price point in the auto servicing aftermarket. Remy reliabilities in their NEW alternators go very far in protecting the remaining life expectancies of your automatic transmission. These facts come from my advanced curriculum as an advanced ICE educator who has trained over 250 independent shops here in Austin Texas. On a scale of one to ten, Remy is the ten. The next closest new alternator is an eight, based on the retail prices.

    But it may well be that leaving those rare earths where they naturally reside will cause less toxic pollution to be released into the environment there in those mines and from the processing of as much tonnage of rare earths.

    I also like the idea of purely processed metals that can be custom designed. The rare earth magnet has to have the systems designed around its physical limits.

    Another “win” is that research monies are being properly directed into induction. Just wait a few more months and you will likely hear that induction has not just surpassed rare earth in
    practicality, but by a clearly-decisive margin has exceeded rare earth.

    It’s good to see that finally research investment has turned more toward all phases of electric motoring.

    There is just no better a name to do all this than Remy. Their quality out here is astonishing.


  4. 4
    Schmeltz

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    May 2nd, 2011 (9:12 am)

    Maybe I missed it but is there also a cost advantage to making a motor without rare earth materials, or is it more expensive to do this way? Even if a non-rare earth motor is more expensive, this is probably still the approach of preference. China has already proven that they will choke the supply at the drop of a hat, what more evidence do we need to avoid rare earth materials if possible?

    Good article. A lot of this is over my head, but the take-away for me is that should rare earth material availability become choked for whatever reason, this company has an alternative. That’s good to know.


  5. 5
    Dan Petit

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    May 2nd, 2011 (9:25 am)

    Cost advantages (in many respects including environmental) in moving away from rare earths is exactly what Remy is doing for electric motoring. The application of technological advancement is often only delayed for a short time by necessary administrative logistics.


  6. 6
    NZDavid

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    May 2nd, 2011 (9:35 am)

    Chine, does not have 95% of the worlds rare earths. They have 95% of the Production which is why they can jerk the market about so much. In any event the Communist party leadership is on record as saying they want rare earths to be processed in China to add value and not just exported.

    The problem is, when they (China) have next to no environmental concerns in extracting the metals, no western country can compete with them. the last rare earth mine in the USA closed some time ago for example. Toyota has been concerned about rare earth production for some time, and holds several years supply, AND is also establishing its own rare earth mine in Vietnam to counter Chinese hegemony.

    I am thrilled to read about these motors, and Dan Petits approval of Remy as a company. I certainly would push for all EV motors to go this route.

    Off Topic. I don’t contribute much these days due to a severe case of VES. I don’t even get to see a Volt until next year, let alone have the chance to buy one!


  7. 7
    Dan Petit

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    May 2nd, 2011 (9:43 am)

    I think that advancement will nullify the need to mine rare earths.

    There is so very much more that you can do with the pulse-width timing of the stator if it is not encumbered by a very overly powerful magnetic field. Yes, less is more when you want to construct all manner of various programs to precisely and uniquely time something (field behaviors) for all sorts of new ways to do all sorts of new things. This is where new profitable growth will happen.

    It’s news like this that makes this a truly mixed set of blessings to be completely patient as the advancements accumulate in a periodically breathtaking set of ways.


  8. 8
    maharguitar

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    May 2nd, 2011 (9:54 am)

    It is true that China produces most of the rare earths and that they have been playing games with production lately. However, there is two differences between Chinese rare earths and oil. The US has sizable reserves of rare earths. We just aren’t mining them at the moment because the Chinese price is much better. (Low labor costs, No environmental impact statement, No remediation, etc). If China raises the price or becomes unreliable, look to see a boom in domestic rare earth mining.

    The other difference is that rare earths don’t get consumed like oil does. Once a motor is at the end of its life, it can be recycled. This is also true of lithium. It doesn’t get used up like oil does. Used batteries can also be recycled.

    If an induction motor give comparable performance to a rare-earth permanent magnet motor, than they will be used in EVs. The manufacturers of EVs will choose the motor that meets the performance and costs they need. Sometimes that will be induction motors sometimes that will be PM motors. If one technology is better than another, it will get most of the market.


  9. 9
    Schmeltz

     

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:02 am)

    Dan Petit: There is just no better a name to do all this than Remy. Their quality out here is astonishing.

    Hi Dan:
    I remember reading a while back, (maybe here but I’m not sure), that GM was pursuing making its own electric motors for its vehicles in-house. I was just wondering if you would estimate that GM would use this induction technology such as the Remy concept for their own motors? You would think the major auto makers playing in this pool would be looking ahead to a concern like rare earth metals, but I haven’t seen definitive mention of the concern until now.


  10. 10
    Dan Petit

     

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:05 am)

    Efficiency for electric range (and initial cost) every second may be the higher performance value than higher performance for peak acceleration or peak torque once or so a week.


  11. 11
    Jeff Cobb

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:11 am)

    Schmeltz,

    Dan may have more to add, but I can tell you Rob Peterson told me on Saturday GM has some really top notch motor experts who also are on the cutting edge. GM does use an induction motor for eAssist. He said he did not believe the Volt does at present.

    Remy has a patent on its stator winding (the copper weave using square wires on the outside part). GM would have to get around that, as that is attributed to a good deal of its motors’ superior torque and efficiency.

    It would probably save GM the time and money to use these motors, I would guess. But maybe not? In general, Remy wants to be an “off-the-shelf” supplier to save the R&D expense to less deep-pocketed OEMs by supplying a state-of-the art motor ready to drop into a design.

    -Jeff


  12. 12
    Dan Petit

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:20 am)

    Schmeltz,

    I am so convinced that rare earth usage will go away, that when Remy explains their advancements the exact way that they did (technical depth being “between the lines” if you will), there are ways to possibly use induction to greatly extend the efficiencies and resulting electric range, I believe.

    When you look at a traffic light that is red, yellow, or green, that is/was equipped with a standard incandescent bulb, it is an analog device that uses power continuously.

    But if it has LED’s, then did you know that they can be flashed on and off thousands of times a second so that the scan rate of your eyes blend the effect of always being on?. This turning of the LED’s off and on thousands of times a second saves even more power. I suspect that this can be done to fine tune an EV stator in an incredible number of ways, and totally be more efficient than the overly powerful and always-present field of a rare earth rotor.
    I believe that they certainly will build as much as possible “in house”.

    My own philosophy is that there is always always a better way to do anything given a clear understanding of the details and parameters of the situations likely encountered.


  13. 13
    N Riley

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:32 am)

    This technology sounds good to me. Anything that helps us to have the same or better efficiency without the use of rare earth minerals is just super.

    Good report, Jeff.


  14. 14
    DonC

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:32 am)

    To follow up on Jeff’s point, GM has had people working on motors for many years. Their goal has been increasing the efficiency and halving the size every year or two, and the goal has been met. The problem, however, is not the motors but the batteries. Batteries are still the limiting factor and are going to remain so for many years. It’s a system and you’re limited by the weakest part, so the most fantastic motors driven by today’s batteries is like having a six inch pipe connected to a two inch pipe — you’ll always be limited by the smallest pipe (chain is only as strong as the weakest link etc. etc.).

    FWIW I believe that Toyota has announced that it is developing a motor that doesn’t use rare earth elements as well, which is hardly surprising since Toyota took the brunt of the game which the Chinese played with the rare earth elements. I suspect they’ll likewise be successful, as will other companies. In technology there are usually several solutions.

    Just as different motors may render the Chinese monopoly on rare earth elements irrelevant, so hopefully will EV render the Middle East’s control of oil supplies irrelevant. (Most happy to see Bin Laden meet his end but as long as we are dependent on oil for our transportation needs this is a tactical not strategic victory).


  15. 15
    Jackson

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:38 am)

    Dave G: From what I’ve heard, GM has not said if the Volt uses an induction motor or not.

    Jeff Cobb: GM does use an induction motor for eAssist, not the Volt at present.

    We have been told different things at different times. The “main motor,” we were told first, is an AC induction type. We were later told that a motor “optimized for regen” used permanent magnets. Since there are two motors in the Volt, I don’t believe that this is necessarily a contradiction. The large motor is likely to be induction (due to it’s larger size and greater power); while the smaller is likely PM (since it’s primary function is as a generator; permanent magnets mean not having to energize a field). Both motors together produce good performance over a wide range of speeds; especially for “Sport Mode.”

    This theory involves some “reading between the lines,” but it ties together several GM-supplied tidbits; and I think it explains a lot.


  16. 16
    joe

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:39 am)

    You can tell the Chinese to shove it and may this be just the beginning.


  17. 17
    Jeff Cobb

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:43 am)

    FYI, one of the many allegations against China is its goal in making rare earths scarce is so that it can develop its own permanent magnet-based motors and vehicles and what not. When it is not blatantly copying other people’s designs, it is also using this angle to accelerate itself into a first-ranked, finished product supplier, instead of just a raw resource supplier.

    Its playing hardball with rare earths looks like it will cost it however, as the world will find ways not to need what it thinks it has a virtual monopoly on.


  18. 18
    Jackson

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:55 am)

    These folks have made high-density coils by printing small subunits into flat sheets, with a curved outline, which are then stacked like playing cards around the core:

    http://www.magnet.fsu.edu/

    (I can’t find a treatment on the site describing this architecture, saw it in a documentary). These resistive magnets can be used, in concert with superconducting magnets, to produce field strengths up to 45 T.

    Assembly of the resistive magnet windings involve a lot of hand-work by an expert; and the material is likely unfriendly to heat transfer; but I’ve been expecting someone to solve these problems for practical use. Remy’s solution, as I understand it, seems to be a significant step towards this kind of magnet (which only shows that magnet and motor design have plenty of room left for advancement).


  19. 19
    Jeff Cobb

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:56 am)

    Jackson,

    Could be Jackson. Like you often do, I went back and edited that … :)

    Rob was not 100-percent sure. I called at first to ask if the Volt uses Remy motors.

    He said they’ll have to set me up with an interview with one of its ace motor engineers.

    I’ll learn more at that point, when it happens.


  20. 20
    Mike-o-Matic

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    May 2nd, 2011 (10:57 am)

    Great article, Jeff! Fascinating and very detailed.

    Stories like this one makes me regret being a software guy, and not an EE!


  21. 21
    Jackson

     

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    May 2nd, 2011 (11:00 am)

    Jeff Cobb: Like you often do, I went back and edited that … :)

    Yeah, I don’t actually write so much as edit. ;-)

    Jeff Cobb: Rob was not 100-percent sure. I called at first to ask if the Volt uses Remy motors.

    He said they’ll have to set me up with an interview with one of its ace motor engineers.

    If it helps, we were told fairly early in the design process that “the main traction motor” would be AC induction. When several of us test-drove production-ready prototypes in NYC over a year ago, an engineer told us that permanent magnets were used in a motor “optimized for regeneration.” Such a motor would also make an outstanding generator, and the gearing seems to make that (predominant) function likely.


  22. 22
    kdawg

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    May 2nd, 2011 (11:30 am)

    Jeff Cobb: Remy has a patent on its stator winding (the copper weave using square wires on the outside part). GM would have to get around that

    How about hexagonal or triangular wires? A triangular shape would actually have 50% more surface area (where the current flows).


  23. 23
    EVO

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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:05 pm)

    What’s important:

    The REMY HVH250 in a Voltec vehicle would be ca. 92 W/kg power to weight ratio, in the upper end of common vehicle power to weight (53-114) , but short of performance luxury, roadsters and mild sports cars (129-173) or true sports cars (179 to 400). More power or less weight (or both), please.

    Of course, electric drive means more punch off the line and fastser responsiveness for same power to weight. I don’t include off the chart things like Killacycle, which at 925 is about twice as much power to weight as a Lamborghini Murciélago, McLaren F1 or a Spitfire fighter aircraft.

    I’d love to see the REMY HVH250 in a TTXGP F1 motorcycle application, which would put it at about 600 power to weight (Honda CBR 1000RR level).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-to-weight_ratio


  24. 24
    Mark Z

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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    I enjoy learning about the technologies used by the EV. Thanks Jeff for attending the conference and sharing how Remy innovation creates unrestrained production in world markets. Delco-Remy parts always lasted much longer when repairing the 1970 El Camino that I enjoyed for over 25 years!

    Just as Remy is reducing the world dependence on rare earth metals, the auto manufacturers need to reduce the world’s dependence on oil and continue shifting output from ICE to EV.


  25. 25
    Jeff Cobb

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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:13 pm)

    EVO,

    Motoczysz already used HVH (maybe with PM) in its e1pc that just missed a 100 mph lap at the IOM TT and to develop its D1g1tal Dr1ve –

    http://remyinc.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=219

    Chip Yates already is outdoing that bike though.

    http://www.chipyates.com/

    Not sure what kind of motor he uses, and I respect his lower-budget approach over the cost-prohibitive flashmobile that is the Czysz creation.


  26. 26
    Noel Park

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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:14 pm)

    I read somewhere in the local SoCal press recently that the Mountain Pass, CA rare earth mine was in the process of reopening. There will be a work around of this Chinese rare earth issue one way or the other, never fear. The Chinese are just trying to force the price up to the brink of US or other production to maximize their profits IMHO.


  27. 27
    Noel Park

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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:17 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Chip Yates already is outdoing that bike though. Not sure what kind of motor he uses, and I respect his low-budget approach over the cost-prohibitive flashmobile that is the Czysz creation.

    #25

    “Simplicate and add lightness” Elegant indeed! +1


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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:20 pm)

    N Riley,
    Mike-o-Matic,
    Mark Z,

    Thank you. I’ll have one more story out of EDTA.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: EVO,Motoczysz already used HVH (maybe with PM) in its e1pc that just missed a 100 mph lap at the IOM TT and to develop its D1g1tal Dr1ve –http://remyinc.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=219Chip Yates already is outdoing that bike though.http://www.chipyates.com/Not sure what kind of motor he uses, and I respect his lower-budget approach over the cost-prohibitive flashmobile that is the Czysz creation.

    Just making sure everyone knows how ready for prime time electric drive already is, even with power pack density, charge time and cost limitation of current tech.

    Yep. MotoCzysz makes the point that beauty in design and systems integration wins minds and hearts.

    On Chip Yates, is your internet broken?

    UQM® PowerPhase® 145:
    http://www.uqm.com/news_article.php?aid=169
    http://www.uqm.com/news_article.php?aid=152

    Test bed for the Saab 9-3 EV, 240 hp:
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/04/saab-chooses-uqm-motors-for-its-9-3-epower-ev-will-be-carving-a/


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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:37 pm)

    OT:
    Chevy Volt Canada pricing = $41,545 (Canadian dollars).


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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:42 pm)

    Jeff and Dan:
    Thanks for your responses. If I had to guess, I would say GM probably is working on their own version of this or in negotiations with Remy perhaps. Either appears a smart play at this point.

    In a side note that is un-related, I would like to extend my Thanks and gratitude to our armed forces who brought down Osama Bin Laden. Thank you to all who serve and protect our freedom!


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    May 2nd, 2011 (12:50 pm)

    @ Jeff:

    Waiting to see if Catavolt really does use quad MARS on the swingarm in Australia if so, and how the off the corner long straight performance is. So far, dual Agnis 95s (or 95Rs) seem the configuration of choice for Formula 75, anyway. Still baffled by why we are not seeing more quad near wheel motor configuration concepts on four wheel vehicles, with fun, fun, fun FWD, RWD, AWD, 4WD, tank pivoting and static drifting torque vectoring options. Weight placement? Laziness of mechanical engineers? Too few brain cells in vehicle makers’ upper management?Watching historic full gasser vehicle makers innovate is like watching frozen molasses.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (1:09 pm)

    EVO,

    Internet is not broken. Just fed the hamster running on the treadmill generator, and the vacuum tubes are fully lit! … otherwise just too busy to get deep into this discussion and did not look up Yates bike further. ;)


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    May 2nd, 2011 (1:17 pm)

    EVO,

    Feel free to keep me apprised of this kind of stuff. Don’t know much about Catavolt. I’ve covered the mainstream U.S. electric motorcycles (Zero, Brammo) a fair bit, am in good with their people, but sorry to say their development rate has a way to go too. They have promise, but I’m not selling my R1 anytime soon either.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (1:24 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: EVO,Internet is not broken. Just fed the hamster running on the treadmill generator, and the vacuum tubes are fully lit! … otherwise just too busy to get deep into this discussion and did not look up Yates bike further.

    Fair enough.

    I’ve been pleased that this site has been as open minded as it has about my bringing in news from the performance motorcycle world. Today’s article helps to bridge the perceived gap between full electric race, street and off road motorcycles (my world), the Volt and, some day soon, a Voltec pickup truck.

    Race on Sunday, sell on Monday… Motoczysz e1pc D1g1tal Dr1ve race performance – Yep, Volt’s got that inside it. Woot!

    See you at Infineon Raceway for the FIM/AMA/TTXGP at WC MotoJam.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (1:29 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: They have promise, but I’m not selling my R1 anytime soon either.

    It should tell you something that I just sold my late model Suzuki VStrom 650 DL from lack of use but am still using my Zero S and Zero X every single day. I still think the VStrom is a great all around bike, but I just wasn’t using it when I had two mind blowingly fun Zeros as a choice. It wasn’t even a close contest in real world daily use around town.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    EVO,

    It hasn’t been a stretch as my last gig was as a staff writer for Motorcycle.com (another VerticalScope pub) and I was the only one who wrote on electric motorcycles.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (1:52 pm)

    Great news! I have read about new (domestic) sources being developed for rare earths. Molycorp in particular. But it’s always better to have alternatives.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (3:07 pm)

    “Chip['s full electric motorcycle, at more than 190 mph over one mile at less than maximum throttle and with wind buffeting] outpaced bikes like a BMW S1000RR (173mph), 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R (185mph), Kawasaki ZX-14 (172mph) and a Suzuki Hayabusa (179mph) and supercars like the Corvette ZR1 (166mph), Porsche GT2 (152mph), Ford GT (155mph) and Lamborghini Murcielago SV (179mph). ”

    A Yamaha R1 has an indicated top speed of 168 mph, which most riders get absolutely nowhere near, never mind that the average speed limit in the US is in the 40′s, and the actual average speed traveled in large US cities is less than 10 mph.

    Zero, just in this latest model year, introduced a fast charging option that improves vehicle recharging times by 50% and 11% more power pack capacity. Electric motorcycle racing is improving AVERAGE lap times at about 11% per year. When’s the last time the ICE world had improvements that quickly, if ever?


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    May 2nd, 2011 (3:09 pm)

    Noel Park: I read somewhere in the local SoCal press recently that the Mountain Pass, CA rare earth mine was in the process of reopening. There will be a work around of this Chinese rare earth issue one way or the other, never fear. The Chinese are just trying to force the price up to the brink of US or other production to maximize their profits IMHO.

    I think it’s more about developing their own industry than their immediate profits. They know there are other sources of the cheap earth metals.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (3:15 pm)

    Wasn’t there like $1 trillion worth of rare earth metals discovered in Afghanistan?

    EDIT: I found an article on it from last summer
    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-06/us-geologists-uncover-staggering-1-trillion-cache-unmined-mineral-resources-afghanistan

    “It’s truly a bonanza: Those rare earth metals essential for building motors for hybrid and electric cars that China thought they had cornered? Afghanistan may be sitting on $7.4 billion worth. That’s not counting niobium, another rare and essential metal–the war-torn, deeply impoverished country may have $81.2 billion of the stuff. As for lithium, the essential battery-building mineral that has led so many to suggest that lithium-rich Bolivia may be the center of the world in an age of electric cars—there’s a chance that Afghanistan may have even more. (We have yet to find much detail about what kind of lithium resources we’re looking at—the geologists we’ve contacted haven’t yet responded—but according to the New York Times, an internal Pentagon document said that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of Lithium,” a nickname that’s also been applied to Bolivia and Chile in the past couple of years.) Then there’s the big money, the meat-and-potatoes. $420.9 billion worth of iron. $274 billion in copper. $50.8 billion in cobalt”


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    May 2nd, 2011 (3:40 pm)

    kdawg,

    I read about that too. All the more reason to figure out a way to stop Afghanistan from being a war zone.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (3:57 pm)

    I have some clearer images of the two slides, but seem to have no way to send them to you Jeff.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (4:06 pm)

    OT:

    GM sending more Volt demos out to Chevy dealers

    [some excerpts from the article:]

    GM expects to sell from 400 to500 Volts in April, said Rob Peterson, a GM spokesman, down from 608 in March.

    But GM also has delivered nearly 300 demo Volts to dealers this month — a key move to boost brand perception, the company says.

    GM wants to use the Volt to boost the awareness, even if customers opt to buy another fuel-efficient model instead. It’s part of the Volt marketing plan: exposure first, sales second, Peterson said.

    Through March 30, GM sold 1,210 Volts and about 1,500 since they went on sale last year.

    GM expects to build 15,000 Volts in the first year of production at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, selling 10,000 here, 2,500 outside the United States and 2,500 demo models.

    Demand continues to outstrip supply, Peterson said. “We expect to sell every one of the 10,000 units produced,” he said.

    Almost nine of 10 customers who traded in a vehicle as part of their purchase are new to the Chevrolet brand

    http://www.detnews.com/article/20110502/AUTO01/105020395/1148/GM-sending-more-Volt-demos-out-to-Chevy-dealers


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    May 2nd, 2011 (4:07 pm)

    Steverino,

    Thanks. Can I e-mail you, then you send them back?


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    May 2nd, 2011 (4:19 pm)

    Maharguitar says: “If China raises the price or becomes unreliable, look to see a boom in domestic rare earth mining.”

    Good point. I’ve heard this elsewhere as well. Namely, that as demand for rare earths increases, so does price, and then more marginal mining operations everywhere become more economical. And of course, there’s recycling.

    Remember as well, that if you can make the engine and car more efficient generally (e.g., lighter, more aerodynamic as well, redesign the engine) then you can get essentially the same performance requirements out of a smaller lighter engine. And a smaller engine will be cheaper to make because it requires less material to manufacture.

    Regards, George, Sudbury, Ont., Canada…go Volt!!


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    May 2nd, 2011 (5:34 pm)

    kdawg: $274 billion in copper.

    #41

    Which the Chinese are getting ready to mine. Go figure.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (5:52 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Steverino,

    Thanks. Can I e-mail you, then you send them back?

    Sounds like a plan, Jeff.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (6:09 pm)

    Found on a Google Images search:

    29upqvc.jpg

    Can’t seem to find the other one, though.


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    May 2nd, 2011 (7:27 pm)

    On the front page there is a question about using a Kilawatt watt meter to monitor usage.

    I have heard that while it is rated at fifteen amps, you may want to inspect the load carrying spade terminal daily. (Isn’t there something in the Volt to do this?)
    (Record the usage before unplugging, as the data will be lost when you unplug it.) If the outlet is old or is not a twenty amp gfci, I would recommend installing a new one of those. If you will always be plugged in for the same time and charge depletion percentage, then see if you can average an entire week of maxed out watt hours with what would be a minimum number of watt hours in another week. Then see if you can then plug in directly without the watt meter once the usage is reliably known. (It may disappear one day, as they are pretty interesting little devices, unless it is locked up.)


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    May 2nd, 2011 (7:56 pm)

    Indiana-based Remy International, Inc.

    The more technology and manufacturing that remains in the USA, the longer it will take China from taking over the world. Keep up the great work guys! :)


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    May 2nd, 2011 (9:45 pm)

    Delco Remy made some great car radios, and apparently some wind generators as well…

    Delco.jpg


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    Aussie Rare Earth Trader

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    May 3rd, 2011 (1:11 am)

    A fascinating read and a great story ….. Now that you guys got Osama it’s on to the new US most wanted – Chinese rare earths elements!

    This is great bit of propaganda for the star spangled banner, however it is a bit like VHS Vs Beta. Remy (and Sony Beta) are/were great and elagent technology however that does not guarantee a win here. Neodymium will be available in quantity from multiple western sources from 2015 at “reasonable” prices (ie 2009 price level for light rare earths). The Remy motor will be only available from Remy and looks commercial and feasible today when compared to current REE prices.

    We all know how this plays out – the Chinese vehicle products will be first to market with REE technology leaving the USA behind again. REE prices drop, demand increases, pricing stabilises at a lowest cost producer plus reasonable margin on cost – approx. $10 per kg for Lynas and less for Molycorp plus 100-1000% margin.

    Neodymium will drop substantially in price to perhaps $60 per kg because of its new abundance (ie Lynas and Mollycorp bucket has mainly lights) – Terbium and Dysprosium demand will remain high because of their scarcity (Heavy Rare Earth) and the incredible efficiency they impart – particularly in regard to the reduced need for cooling of motors – so the margin for Nd-Fe-B-Dy and Nd-Fe-B-Dy-Tb will be in the Dy & Tb – the Chinese component! Nd-Fe-B-Dy motors are half the mass of Nd-Fe-B motors for the same power at 100 degrees Celcius (typical operating temperatures). Nd-Fe-B-Dy-Tb motors are 1/3 the mass of Nd-Fe-B – none of which is mentioned in the article.

    The big issue for the Remy technology is cooling. You can make a motor, but if you are pumping big amps through the induction magnet, all of the heat has to go somewhere or the reliability and efficiency will drop greatly – unless you have a superconductor for the induction coil which is what the Japanese have been working on.

    Chinese EV’s and Hybrids are trending towards 4 independent motors at the wheels with a petrol/diesel charging batteries or driving wheel motors directly with current, rather than the traditional gear box / differential/ petrol/electric torque converter (Prius/Volt). Direct motor drive dramatically increases efficiency, reduces cost and improve the reliability (ie can go from 2-4 wheel drive as required and even run on 1 motor). Remy technology will be inclined to focus more on a single central motor/gearbox where a cooling system can cool a larger motor so there will be no need for multiple cooling systems.

    There is some good commentary here which is largely very positive to Remy however it is a bit of a case of “now china will have to drop the price because we don’t need their stinking REE any more”. The Chinese EV or Hybrid product with REE embedded will be lighter, more efficient and more reliable.

    History proves that the US cannot make cars profitably because they refuse to make products that are cheap, small, reliable, efficient and quick to market. Trying to design out REE’s for parochial and nationalistic reasons plays well to a patriotic audience, however the US has shown that at the car yard, patriotism quickly loses out to price, value, efficiency, range and reliability.

    I wish Remy well – they will play an essential role in driving a reduction in the price of REE’s however past 2015 they will struggle unless they have a low cost super conducting induction story (which may be possible).

    So my recommendation to the US manufacturers is do not lose the high ground on REE magnet technology. Move to China, make your drive train and export it to the US. Once western availability is sustainable move yourself back home.


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    May 3rd, 2011 (1:58 am)

    Just imagine if these alternative batteries are going to truly become cheaper then rare earth metals maybe we could increase the range as far as 500 miles on a charge! Now that’s a true win! Win! Situation. Let’s hope so for the better when it comes to the future?


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    May 3rd, 2011 (11:05 am)

    kdawg: How about hexagonal or triangular wires? A triangular shape would actually have 50% more surface area (where the current flows).

    The point is squeezing more conductors into less space, not surface conducting area. You can fill space more efficiently with rectangles than with circles (of course, you can use triangles and hexagons too, but I wouldn’t even want to imagine the complexity of that winding procedure; making sure that alternating layers of triangles are reversed to precisely mesh with the preceding row, hexagons are offset, etc. There also needs to be at least some space between conductors to allow for cooling, so no alignment can ever be “perfectly” space-efficient).


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    May 3rd, 2011 (1:58 pm)

    Wish I’d gotten in on this yesterday. I ride a 2008 Buell Lightning XB12s. I’m somewhat interested in electric bikes but haven’t done much reading. EVO, you got me started looking into the Zero.