Fresh funding to help UK's AEM scale up sustainable EV motor production

A UK effort to scale up the manufacture of an innovative rare earth free electric motor has received funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

AEM's SSRD rare earth free electric motor
AEM's SSRD rare earth free electric motor - AEM

Led by sustainable motor manufacturer Advanced Electric Machines (AEM) the SIMPLE project (Scaled-up Innovative Motor Production for Lower Environmental impact) will see the firm construct a dedicated pilot line for series production of its patented SSRD passenger car motor technology.


Rare-earth elements, such as neodymium, are utilised extensively in the permanent magnet motors commonly found in electric vehicles. However, the extraction of these naturally occurring materials can cause significant environmental damage.


AEM claims that widespread adoption of its motors, which can be produced using only aluminium and steel, has the potential to save 133 million tonnes of COequivalents, 300,000 tonnes of radioactive waste and five million tonnes of landfill waste each year. 


Whilst the technology has already been driver forward by a number of collaboration with industry and university partners, Dr Andy Steven, Chief Technical Officer at Advanced Electric Machines, said that the fresh funding will help the firm address the challenges of scaling up commercial production. “As we scale production on SSRD to hundreds of thousands of units per year, we need to understand how to optimise the manufacturing processes for high volumes, while also meeting the cost and performance targets that our customers demand.”


Dr James Widmer, CEO and co-founder of Advanced Electric Machines, added: “This funding has the potential to transform the UK’s supply chain by laying the foundations for a significant scale up of sustainable motor manufacturing. The output of this project will help to create skilled jobs and facilitate further innovation in the UK.”


Spun out from Newcastle University in 2017, Advanced Electric Machines was the winner of the automotive category at The Engineer’s 2019 Collaborate To Innovate Awards.