Unique Wins DOE Grant For EV Traction System

July 08, 1999 by Jeff Shepard

Unique Mobility Inc. (Golden, CO) announced that it has received a US DOE grant to design and build an advanced electric traction system capable of propelling mid-sized hybrid-electric and fuel cell-electric passenger vehicles. Two Detroit automakers, as yet unidentified, have indicated high interest in the project and have agreed to evaluate early prototypes. The two-year engineering project is valued at $750,000 and follows an earlier DOE-funded effort by Unique that validated the preliminary system design. The new effort will focus on manufacturability and cost analysis.According to Jon Lutz, manager of Unique's Motor Engineering Department, "The system incorporates an innovative combination of an energy-efficient electric motor, gears and differential. By using Unique's patented phase advance technology, the system will produce both high starting torque and higher speeds (i.e. power)without increasing the size and cost of the motor/controller package."Although the size of the drive system will be smaller than a 12-inch cube, according to Lutz, it will deliver 100 horsepower and 1,100 ft-lbs. of torque to the wheels. "We are not aware of another product in the market that can come close to this power density and packagability," Lutz added.Unique Chairman and CEO Ray A. Geddes said this new effort by his company "adds another product to our arsenal of electric propulsion systems. It combines our technical expertise and manufacturing know-how in the field of high efficiency, power dense permanent magnet motors and gear assemblies to arrive at a compact, cost-effective traction drive system for the automotive industry."