Naval Veterans charting new motor designs

Quanteon Powertrain is an IIT Delhi incubated, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) recognized Startup by two Naval Officers who are now ‘charting a new course’ in designing axial flux motors and generators. Quanteon Powertrain is keen to usher in a paradigm shift in the EV architecture and design hub-motor based powertrain making the EVs more efficient and truly achieve the goal of Green Mobility in India. The team is working on machine designs which are entirely homegrown and can be manufactured indigenously.

Commander Ramesh Lakra (retd), the founder of the startup talks to Dr Vanita Srivastava of the Communication Cell on the challenges and the future plans.

Please give a brief about your startup

Quanteon Powertrain has been formed by self, Commander Ramesh Lakra(Retd) and Commander KV Narsimham(Retd).We both are Indian Navy veterans. We are Electrical Engineers by profession and have over 20 years of experience in cutting edge electrical and electronics technology.

Our company is designing axial flux motors and generators. We are also offering our expertise in low frequency electromagnetic analysis in projects wherethe same is needed.

Where and how did you get the idea?

Electric Vehicles are the flavour world over. EVs are still using conventional ICE architecture, which employs friction brakes and combined with gearbox/transmission lines drains out 40-50% of the energy in cities. The existing regeneration braking are also limited in their efficiency and often come at an added cost. Axial flux motors due to their inherent shape, which allows them to be wheel-hub-mounted, offers the best-fit solution for EVs. Axial flux technology allows for higher flux interaction vis-à-vis radial flux leading to axial flux motors being smaller in size and weight when compared to corresponding radial flux motors.

Being navymen, the criticality of weight and volume is second nature to us. Both of us at some point in our naval careers have been associated with submarines and that’s how the idea to start working with axial flux took root and today we stand poised at transforming our first design into a working motor.

What were the main challenges. How could you overcome them?

We faced two main challenges, the first was finding the right team members who had the experience of using the low frequency EM analysis tools and designing motors/generators. The second and more importantly was the availability of manufacturing infrastructure. Considering that the ecosystem is optimised only for radial flux motors/ generators, this took a while. You see, we cannot design if we cannot prototype.

We built up on our practical experiences and polished our hands on the software tools. The visualisation power of these tools is fantastic which has allowed us to optimise our machine designs and we are excited about validating these once the protos are done. We found assistance from Dept of Science and Technology in tapping into some R&D facilities which are doing yeoman service in furthering niche technologies, and have the required capabilities for productionising our designs.

What are your future plans?

We are considering a range of options to establish manufacturability of our designs. Towards this we are looking at modular designs and also working on designs which would be fabricated using powder manufacturing.

We are developing a powertrain for 2W which would do away with rare earth magnets. We would be in a position to showcase hub-motor powertrain for 4W in the coming months. Meanwhile, we are also progressing our patented design for 4W which intends to harness back 95% of the energy used in braking back to the battery, thus, extending range of EVs. The resultant reductionin battery packs can bring down the cost of EVs considerably.

Moving beyond EVs, efficient motors are the need of the hour. Many of us overlook the fact that 60-70% power bills in the industrial world is due to the motors whirring away. We aim to design motors for a wide range of other applications so that the processes these motors would power will become greener.

3th Jan. 2020