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Tata Steel and Newcastle University set to develop innovative electric motor and transmission system


Tata Steel has partnered with leading academics at Newcastle University to develop an innovative, low-cost electric motor and transmission.

The research and development partnership forms part of the global steel maker’s wider strategy to help maximise the efficiency of future low carbon vehicles and will yield a new generation of electrical and gear steels for traction motor and transmission systems.

“We are committed to advancing low carbon vehicle technologies by identifying the optimal electrical and transmission steels required for lightweight, efficient gear-drives,” explains Jaap Piso, Sales and Marketing Director – Automotive at Tata Steel. “Together with our partners at Newcastle University, we are set to develop a high quality, affordable technology that will suit volume production of low carbon vehicles.”

The aim is to design a new electric motor and transmission system that is highly durable, can easily be recycled and remains cost effective. The combination of leading edge motor and gear design technologies developed by Newcastle University and Tata Steel’s materials expertise has enabled the development of a high performance 130kW drivetrain, delivering more than 3000Nm at the wheel, for a projected mass and volume very similar to that of today’s leading 80kW designs – but at much lower cost.

A high level of performance has been achieved in a small package by a combination of advanced motor design, very high motor operating speeds and the critically intelligent use of specially developed electrical and gear steels. Developments to electrical and gear steels have resulted in higher performance, new and affordable processes and reductions in component size.

The project has included both electric motor and gearbox researchers from Newcastle University. James Widmer, from Newcastle University’s Centre from Advanced Electrical Drives, said, “This has been a fantastic opportunity to look at the design of electric vehicle motors and gearboxes from the ground up. Working with Tata Steel has allowed us to propose the development of steels with new properties which allow us to develop a smaller, more efficient electric drivetrain.”

Tata Steel’s collaboration with Newcastle University is one of a number of high technology partnerships established by the company to advance the development of technologies for low carbon vehicles. It has most recently partnered with leading transmission specialist Drive System Design to share knowledge and best practice in developing high strength, lightweight transmission steels.

published on: 6 September 2012