Groupe Renault has acquired a 21% minority stake in Whylot, a company based in the Lot region of France that has developed an innovative axial flow automotive electric motor. This acquisition of a stake in the French start-up strengthens the existing strategic partnership between the two companies.
Groupe Renault previously signed a partnership with Whylot to develop and industrialize on a large scale an axial flow electric motor. This technology will be applied to electrified and electric powertrains, with the objective in particular in hybrid powertrains to reduce costs while saving CO2 emissions of 2.5 g / km of CO2 according to the WLTP standard (for passenger cars in the B / C segments).
Renault declared that this equity investment will allow Groupe Renault and Whylot to position themselves in the years to come as leaders in the development and industrialization of innovative and affordable electric motors and to support the very strong growth of the vehicle market. electrified in France and in Europe. Groupe Renault will be the first consumer manufacturer to produce an axial flow electric motor on a large scale, from 2025.
Axial flux motors offer a number of advantages in theory over the more common radial flux motor, including higher torque; in other words, for a given required torque, an axial flux machine can use fewer magnets. Despite the advantages, radial flux motors dominate the market.
Whylot notes that a number of factors make axial flow machines difficult to make. These include a very high linear speed, placing high demands on the mechanical strength of the magnets; thermal management of the rotor; and difficulties in manufacturing the stator at high speed on a production line.
Whylot axial flow motor
In response, Whylot:
Improved rotor. Conventional axial flow rotors provide high linear speed and heat at high power output; the whole system becomes unstable and suffers from a loss of power. Whylot uses an easy to fabricate, strong and durable composite material. A honeycomb grid holds the magnets; there is no heat and no demagnetization, as verified in simulation.
Improved the stator. Modular stator structure facilitates winding and is suitable for series production. Two stators on a rotor cause a double excitation on the rotor; that is, fewer magnets for the same performance with a resulting lower cost.