DeltaWing and DHX to shrink electric vehicle motors without compromising power

The DHX Falcon, at front, produces 80 hp and is equivalent to the typical automotive electric motor shown behind, yet is 75 percent less bulky(Credit: DHX Electric Machines)

DeltaWing Technology Group and DHX Electric Machines, both based in Georgia in the US, are collaborating to build small, lightweight electric motors for automotive applications. The companies claim their electric motors are 75 percent smaller than equivalent-output motors for automotive applications thanks to engineering improvements in heat management.

Much of the bulk of high-torque electric motors, such as those typically used in automotive applications for electrified vehicles, is in the heat management systems engineered into the motor casings, and efforts to reduce this bulk typically result in loss of torque output in heavier usage. DHX claims its design reduces bulk by up to 75 percent without losing thermal management efficiency, thus retaining the motor's expected output in heavy usage.

A smaller, lighter motor reduces weight and volume requirements, which improves the efficiency of the vehicle, resulting in greater range.

In an electric motor, the windings generate most of the heat produced during use. Air or liquid cooling is usually used to dissipate this heat into the motor's frame and case through the stator, which, unlike the windings, is fixed to those elements. In the DHX design, a heat exchanger in the winding pulls heat away and to the casing more efficiently. DHX calls this a Direct-Winding Heat Exchanger (DWHX), and it is made up of tiny channels made to reduce thermal resistance by pulling heat away from the windings. This replaces heavy liquid cooling and less efficient air cooling.

For its part, DeltaWing, which became known for its Nissan collaboration on the Ben Bowlby-designed racing car of the same name, will design vehicles to use the motor. The company currently produces the Panoz DeltaWing Racing coupe for IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) competition. Vehicles for development and production using the DHX motors, DeltaWing says, will include two-, three-, and four-wheeled designs ranging from scooters to urban vehicles to highway-ready EVs and delivery vehicles. The motors will be designed for use in both battery electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

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