Mahle combines two innovative concepts to field the "perfect motor"

Mahle combines two innovative concepts to field the "perfect motor"
Mahle says it's created the "perfect electric motor," combining two breakthroughs from earlier prototypes
Mahle says it's created the "perfect electric motor," combining two breakthroughs from earlier prototypes
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Mahle says it's created the "perfect electric motor," combining two breakthroughs from earlier prototypes
Mahle says it's created the "perfect electric motor," combining two breakthroughs from earlier prototypes

One of the world's largest tier-one auto parts suppliers claims it's created the "perfect motor." The compact Mahle motor uses no rare earth magnets, transmits power without contact or wear, and can run at high power indefinitely without overheating.

It's the combination of two impressive concepts Mahle released in 2021 and 2022. The first was the cheap, highly efficient MCT (Magnet-free Contactless Transmitter) motor, which replaced the typical permanent rare earth magnets in the rotor with a series of wound-coil electromagnets, and powered these magnets using contactless induction.

This brought down the price of materials, and eliminated the necessity to run supply chains through China, which refines some 97% of the world's rare earth metals. It was also remarkably frugal with energy, operating at more than 95% efficiency right through its range of operating speeds – a level Mahle said at the time had only ever been achieved by Formula E race cars.

The second was the SCT (Superior Continuous Torque) motor, which debuted a pioneering new cooling system. Most electric motors have quite a decent gap between their peak power rating and their continuous power rating, since overheating can cause serious damage. So manufacturers put vehicles into a thermal management mode, cutting down the power until the temperature comes down.

The MAHLE Superior Continuous Torque SCT E Motor

The SCT motor, though, uses a central intake to send cooling oil into the middle of the rotor, and uses the centrifugal force of the spinning rotor to pump it outward and around the stator, then through to a radiator, or else another system to harvest heat for use elsewhere in the vehicle.

It cools the motor so effectively that it can run all day at between 93-100% of its peak power. The benefit here is obvious in performance terms, but it also means manufacturers don't have to use oversized motors to guarantee performance at higher temperatures – they can save space and weight with the compact SCT design.

Mahle hinted in 2022 that the two concepts could be combined, and has now done just that.

The new "perfect motor" is as yet nameless, but it uses the SCT's cooling concept in the MCT's magnet-free, induction-powered design, and Mahle says it retains the advantages of both these systems, offering extreme efficiency, sustained high performance without overheating, exceptionally long life, and harvestable heat. And it uses no permanent magnets, so it should be cheap to build as well.

Mahle is presenting it as a "technology toolbox" for OEMs at this year's IAA Mobility expo in Munich. There's no word as yet on when we'll see a production version – that's likely up to the auto manufacturers.

It's worth pointing out that the company itself puts those sarcastic-looking quotation marks around "perfect motor" in its own press release. But it sure seems like Mahle believes it's created something special here.

Source: Mahle

Spud Murphy
Big drawback is that the motor now has critical rotating pressurised oil seals (not just regular bearing seals which don't run under pressure) an added potential failure point that most electric motors don't have.
Rick O
I'm all for a motor not using rare earth elements. It's good to see something like this coming from an established supplier and not just some hopeful startup that may never see widespread adoption. I'm all for new players, but being an established company gives them some credibility, and makes me think this will be a viable alternative to the usual. The oil coiling gives me some pause, but looks like it will be a low enough pressure system that seals should last for quite a long time.
@Spud, is that really such a big problem? We're not talking high pressure here. No more than a typical circulating oil pump, which can run for tens if not hundreds of thousands of hours without failure.
Thanks Loz - Oh, it looks like Spud has found a reason to hate the system. I have had seals blow due to replacement of a rear differential housing with a compatible housing that required a relief valve on the back plate, but the original had a built in relief valve (overflow hole) on the differential housing. It seems vehicles since the Dodge brothers came up with sealed bearings and better oil seals have dealt with normal or high pressure gear oil in the housing case. It appears that engineers know how to manage things like that - as we see with ICE and their front & rear seals.....Oil in an engine is pumped under pressure Spud. It seems you have found one of the flaws of ICE engines too!
But do go on about how we will never solve the hurdles of current electric vehicle systems, won't you? (sarcasm)... :)
Huh, that commutation ring looks really small to be handling all the amps, this will be a little treat to see be repairable.
No rare earth magnets is fantastic news! This motor will surely supersede all other designs.

Has one actually been built, or is it just a concept? The video did not show a lot.

Elon might be interested!
Gotta love claims like best ever highest efficiencies ..especially when Tesla model 3 and y drive system not just the engine have a 97% efficiency. That's almost half the loss compared to this engine .