Skip to main content

Electric Motor based on PArallel paTH effect

Final Report Summary - EMPATHY (Electric Motor based on PArallel paTH effect)

Executive Summary:
Under the joint effort of 3 SME and 3 RTD, originating from countries like Italy, France, Malta and Finland, the EMPATHY project has developed an electric motor, based on an innovative configuration of permanent magnetic circuits, so called Parallel Paths, and on the evolution of the Flux Switching Permanent Magnet, which enabled to limit the torque ripple and to give the opportunity to open the way to the industrial exploitation of the magnetic flux switching motors. High efficiency at all rotational speeds and loads, high specific power and torque values, cost effectiveness and easy manufacturing characterize the novel unit concept.

The EMPATHY project aimed to implement this architecture into electric motors mainly for the automotive industry, by achieving at the end of the project, the two final prototypes, one presenting a Bearing on stator configuration, and the other a Bearings on rotor configuration (in-wheel motor), and the numeric tool software, a Simulation model, allowing easier design of motors with this novel architecture. The main target application initially is represented by the electric city cars and electric quadric-cycles. However, it is expected that this novel architecture and technology can be implemented and can cover a quite wide range of applications in industry and production, as industrial fans and blowers, hydraulic and oil pumps, machine tools, automatic pressure systems, household appliances, power tools, but also in the maritime and robotics industry.

In the automotive industry, a strong impulse has been given to the innovation, to comply with the worldwide environmental concern, the use of the last drop of energy from the electrochemical batteries, cost effectiveness, high power-to-weight ratios, and capability of applying power directly from motor to wheel, braking efficiency, vibration and friction reduction. This is the broadest potential market, densely populated with competitors, nevertheless showing the optimal matching with specific advantages of EMPATHY.
Internationally, the electric motor market size is widely characterized by the coexistence between bigger leading companies and smaller companies; the latter mostly operate in the manufacturing of light quadric-cycles, whereas the production of heavy road quadric-cycles for passengers transport represents about 1/4 of the market.

As the automotive industry has been considered the main target application, the final two configurations of prototypes, will have to comply with the European Homologations norms (mainly 2002/24/CE and 2007/46/CE) and International normative, in regards of the motor requirements. The mentioned normative divides the motor in three efficiency categories, the last category EFF1, the high efficiency motors category, should include all the motors, being equipped with variable speed drive, starting from 1 of January 2017. Nonetheless, as the health impacts of noise became of stronger interest for the EU and its population, the normative of the Acoustic isolation of the electrical motors, imposes new tests for measuring the environmental noise and establish new noise limit levels and by introducing requirements for the minimum noise for electric and electric-hybrid vehicles.
The founding concept of EMPATHY, consisting in high efficiency, meets the main opportunity offered by the external environment, i.e. the normative and industrial framework, aiming at reducing operational costs; such an advantage is partially affected by the fact that the high efficiency performance is limited to motors operating with frequent start & stops and in a wide range of RPMs, which narrows accessible market segments, nevertheless offering a broad range of opportunities.

Project Context and Objectives:
As per the project contract, the EMPATHY project has been devoted to attaining the following strategic goals with the activities performed under the specific work packages, following the organization of the all work packages, except the WP1, concluded in the first period of the project.
Dissemination activities and management of the Consortium (WP7 and WP8) were continuously ongoing activities during the project, and produced outputs that will be detailed in the following sections of this report. We can summarize here the main goals achieved in the second period WP by WP:
• WP1 – Definition of the SME’s requirements in each field of application and also the definition of the technical specification to meet the end-users needs and expectations.
• WP2 – Optimization of the numerical simulation model for the functioning and evaluating the electromagnetic behaviour of the Empathy engine configurations.
• WP3 – Design of the final prototypes has been realized, based on the simulation results of the mathematical model conceived by Aalto, with the support of Labor;
• WP4 – A COTS (Commercial Off The Shelves) component has been chosen and acquired from Mac Engineering, from Italy, for accomplishing the power control and the electronics for motors controls, which has been sized, tuned and updated for the Empathy application;
• WP5 – The final prototypes, BOR and BOS were prototyped, assembled, the architecture and geometry were validated, for further implementation in the final Empathy prototypes.
• WP6 – The tests on the final prototypes were performed on the test bench, specifically acquired for such purpose at the Labor premises, where the final prototypes have been also assembled.
Finally, let us consider the milestones list for the entire period of the project, reassumed in the table below:
• MS1 Alpha prototype available, to be delivered at M6, involving the WP5;
• MS2 Validated simulation model and results of tests on Alpha prototype, at M9, involving the WP2;
• MS3, Design completed, at M15, involving the WP3;
• MS4, BOR and BOS prototypes available, at M20, involving the WP5;
• MS5, Results of tests on prototypes, at M24, involving the WP6.

Basic results have been fixed for the first period, as means of numerical simulation model, preliminary designs and preliminary prototypes, achieving this way the first two Milestones, respectively MS1 and MS2, although the core objectives of the project have been concentrated in the second period with the achievement of the remaining Milestones 3, 4 and 5.
In fact, we can state the following statements in regards of the achievement of the EMPATHY project:
a) The definition of the requirements and application scenarios, as well as the specifications have been formulated and correctly addressed;
b) The numerical simulation software has been created and optimized throughout the project;
c) The preliminary and final designs of the Beta prototypes were realized based on the simulation model predictions, having as inputs the parameters, such as: poles number, efficiency, torque, dimensions constraints and so on;
d) The preliminary and the final prototypes BOR (bearings on rotor) and BOS (bearings on stator), optimized and tested, foreseen in the RP2 in task 5.3 and 5.4 have proceeded and have completed the assessment of this milestone.
e) The final tests on the Beta prototype have been performed, which have allowed the assessment of the technical and economic impact, nonetheless the product Life Cycle Assessment and environmental impact.

Project Results:
As per the contract, the project EMPATHY is divided into 8 Work Packages, which were spread along the two years of project. Under the WP1 Requirements analysis, the specifications have been collected from the SMEs, and have represented the basis for the definition of the technical requirements formulated by the RTD performers, it is considered that the present WP is concluded successfully.

One important result of this first period was the simulation model, achieved in WP2, which has been parameterized and configured to allow investigating motor geometry, material characteristics and electromagnetic properties of the EMPATHY architecture, with the aim of identifying the optimal set of parameters for the design of the prototype, in terms of efficiency and torque values.

At the end of the first 9 months of the project, the preliminary prototype was ready and fully functional, with the activities of design and prototyping, falling under the WP 3 and WP 5, which will continue during the second period, with the optimization of the design and prototype activities for the two final prototypes.
The WP 4 started as early as month 1 and has produced an initial set up of the control and power electronics for the initial preliminary tests and it will continue almost until the end of the project. Instead, the WP6 referred to only tests protocols and results, will start as late as M15 up to end of the project, including the tests of the final prototypes.
Except the initial WP, none of the other WP related to the technical activities can be considered concluded at this time, but the results achieved are considered in-line with the initially foreseen timetable.
The Work Package 7, as described in the contract has been a long term set of activities, along the 2 years of the project and have regarded the activities of the dissemination of the project itself, the publishable results achieved and the finalization of the exploitation strategies, set by the SME, for their best financial outcomes interests. In addition, the WP8 – Project management of the entire consortium, by the Coordinator, has been generally dedicated to activities to be performed in order to maintain the entire structure and roles in line with the contract.
As a general consideration, and following the summary of the results achieved for Second Period, we can state that all the operative goals of the second period have been achieved, with respect to the original work plan.

During the RP2 (M10-M24) activities regarding WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5, WP6, WP7 and WP8 have been performed. The specific objectives of each Work Package and the expected deliveries for the period are summarized below:
Under the WP2 several activities have been carried out to provide the framework, in which the optimization of the Empathy simulation model could be carried out, such as: an algorithm-based approach, which has been developed and used to minimize the energy consumption of a driving cycle and two thermal network models, for transient and stationary operation, implemented for a one of the previous Alpha2 prototype. Moreover the optimisation of the simulation model has been performed on the Alpha3 prototype, which gave an insight on modifications and improvements of the parametrization and prediction optimization. This work package is concluded with the submission of the deliverables D2.2 Optimized motor architecture.
The WP3 has been entirely dedicated to the preliminary and final design of the preliminary and final prototypes. The second period was focused on the realization of the both final designs of the two configuration motors which were prototyped under the WP5. As per work-plan, two deliverables were submitted in the RP2, D3.2 Design of Bearings on Rotor BOR submitted on the 06/10/2015) and D3.2 Design of Bearings on Stator BOS, (submitted on 06/10/2015).
The WP4 Design of control and power electronics included technical activities to have the power and control electronics layout for the execution of the tests under the WP6 and starting from the basic electronic layout, it regarded the improvement and optimization of the control unit, accompanied by the automation and control system.
Three deliverables were planned to be elaborated in the second period and comprehended the activities performed and the results achieved in this work package, D4.2 Development of the power electronics, (submitted on 22/09/2015) and D4.3 Power supply (submitted on the 18/09/2015). The last deliverable D4.4 Firmware (submitted on 28/09/2015).
The activities of the WP5 and WP6 have regarded the prototyping activities and the final tests performed on the Beta prototypes, and also the testing protocols and its relative report, with the concrete results. The correspondent deliverables were D5.3 Bearing on rotor engine (submitted on 15/09/2015) and D5.4 Bearing on stator (submitted on 17/09/2015) of the Work package 5, D6.1 Testing procedures D6.2 Tests and results D6.3 Technical economical assessment and D6.4 LCA environmental assessment, belonging of the WP6 Tests and prototype validation, all submitted at the end of the project.
In regards of the WP7 Exploitation, dissemination and training, fruitful activities performed during the second period of the project, have been collected and reported in the D7.3 Final PUDF (submitted on 08/04/2015). The D7.3 also describes the strategy for the exploitation of the results, from the SME’s side and a further action plan, to be put into practice, with the active support of MELE and LABOR for the industrial implementation. In addition to the dissemination activities, a video has been created, for publication on the website, downloaded on the REA portal, as attachment to the final reports and made available to the partners to be used and disseminated throughout the clients network, in future prospective to set new commercial and their business activities.
The Consortium Management WP8 had the main aim of carrying out the supervision of all the project activities, through specific tasks such as work planning, progress monitoring and re-scheduling in case of deviations, organization of general and technical meetings and communication with the REA. These activities were carried on by the coordinator MELE since the beginning of the project and has been constantly carried also during the second period verifying and ensuring that deliverables and official documents foreseen by contract were submitted with suitable quality.
In line with the description of work of the project, we herein list the main results achieved in the second period of the project:
1. The optimization of the numerical tool for simulating the electromagnetic behaviour of the Empathy engines BETA configurations, the user manual and the report which describes the model functionality and architecture;
2. The realization of the final designs of the two final prototypes, in-wheel motor and central bearings on stator engine, resulting from the simulation activity, validating the electromagnetic architecture and new geometries for each final prototype;
3. The COTS (commercial off the shelves) electrical components have been chosen and integrated with the lab instrumentation ,i.e. a brushless converter, used to control and drive the motor, its power supply and the firmware and all the devices (test bench, instruments) used for measurements and characterization.
4. The manufacturing and assembling of the Beta prototypes, also documenting the assembly phases and explaining the appropriate precautions in the construction activity, for the purpose to guarantee the highest quality of the final result and guard against possible failures.
5. The update of the dissemination material such as poster, brochure, press release and website, the participation at various exhibitions;
6. The coordination of the entire consortium, planning, revision of the activities and quality control, monitoring of the work progress and management of the possible deviations from the original plans.

Project management and dissemination WPs have been planned to be continuous activities during the project lifetime, so the state of completion of the initiated tasks will be shown and commented in the related sections of this report.

Potential Impact:
The 3 tangible results expected from the project are here listed and their output described in terms of commercial potential and impact.
The simulation model is a numerical tool for extensive exploration of the space of parameters and for identification of the best solution for the EMPATHY prototypes, according to given requirements is the core part of the research work within the project. A parametric simulation model will be realized according to characterizing parameters, symmetries and scaling properties of the EMPATHY prototypes. This simulation model will be in a second phase optimized by adding advances features such as parameterization of the model design, automation of repetitive tasks and optimized architecture and motors specifications for BOR and BOS prototypes.
State of development
At the end date of the project, the result has been concretized in a simulation model/software, Matlab based, designed for the electric vehicles application and able to develop new motor geometries based on given parameters and scaling up properties.
The design of the BOS prototype relied and was performed based on the indications of the validated simulation tool; it has been realized in full details by means of 3D CAD software, by integrating the electronic components needed for motor control and actuation; and /or an optical encoder or an alternative encoding system.
State of development
At the current state of the project, both of the executive designs of the In-wheel motor, so called BOR (bearings on rotor) engine and the BOS engine (bearing on stator) were fully completed and designed, being the base for the prototyping activities.
Result no. 3 – EMPATHY BEARINGS ON ROTOR (BOR) in-wheel motors
The design of the BOR prototype is relying on the indications of the validated simulation tool; it will be realized in full details by means of 3D CAD software, by integrating the electronic components needed for motor control and actuation; and /or an optical encoder or an alternative encoding system.
State of development
At the current state of the project, both of the executive designs of the In-wheel motor, so called BOR (bearings on rotor) engine and the BOS engine (bearing on stator) were fully completed and designed, being the base for the prototyping activities.

Market objectives and expected benefits for the SMEs
The objective of MELE is to become leader in the market niche dedicated to electric motors for the automotive industry, with special focus to provide and to distribute it to the SME’s of the project, in the terms agreed and set in the contract and the exploitation strategy, but also to the Italian market, with special focus to the clients producers of automotive and not lastly, to the industry production, where MELE has already a leading role in production and selling different types of motors, for national and international customers.
The market penetration strategy foresees a 2 stage approach,
1. 1-3 years after project completion: Since the broad adoption of new technologies by such a traditional industry usually stretches over a period of around 5 to 6 years, we plan set up the spin-off of MELEGARI, meant to produce exclusively our motors for selling out to the business partners, EON Motors and ELEC; set up the industrialization line with external private funding, and then to extend to the next step:
2. 3-6 years after project completion: at technology full maturity wider acceptance in the niche market, the objective is to access the full market of the industry production motors, represented by large European and International players, through the establishment of technology licensing agreements.
Following the market strategy previously indicated, the sales estimation is defined considering the following considerations:
- MELEGARI is aiming to produce and sell in ITALY, in a first stage, as follows:
• the BOS Empathy motor – 5000 units of to ELECTRICARS (at discounted price as previously stated) and about 7000 to be sold to other clients (at full price) and
• the BOR EMPATHY motor about 6000 units (at discounted price as previously stated and agreed) to each SME and around 3000 units to other clients (at full price).
- In FRANCE, EON estimate to sell their electric vehicle with EMPATHY motor mounted on it around 7000, each car about 15k€;
- IN MALTA: ELEC estimate to sell their electric vehicles: Minimono, 4mica, Skatto e Trix, featuring the Empathy motor, around 4000 units at a value of 10K€ each and also to implement the Empathy motor into a brand new watercraft.
The hypothesis concerning the production of both BOS and BOR motors for MELE extend for a duration of a 5 to 6 year projection, after the industrialization and commercialization phases have been completed, and the technology will be then introduced on the market.
Following the IPR meeting held in Rome, on the 3rd of February 2015, this market strategy has been confirmed and furthermore, percentages of remuneration on the commercial agreements have been decided and taken between the SME, and outside of the business partnership, as reported in the section 2.3.4 Patent Ownership and Remunerations.
Labor in agreement with MELE has depicted of a proposal of ownerships and remunerations, as result of the patent participation. All participants agree to file a patent application covering the EMPATHY technology.
The following Patent Ownership has been proposed and agreed by all participants:
• Alessandro Ribaudo: 20%
• LABOR: 20%
The following provisions have been agreed by all participants:
a) MELEGARI will be granted an exclusive license of the patent, to be remunerated by royalties in the value of 3% of sales.
b) Royalties arising from sales of motors related to automotive applications will be divided according to the shares of ownership of the patent
c) Royalties arising from sales of motors related to any other sector different than automotive will be divided according to the following shares:
- MELEGARI: 46.7%
- Alessandro Ribaudo: 23.35%
- LABOR: 23.35%
- EON MOTORS: 3.3 %
This provision recognises that technical development performed within EMPATHY is focused on specialising the technology for the automotive sector and the customisation to other sectors will require investments by MELEGARI, Labor and Ribaudo;
d) a 25% discounted price is accorded to EON MOTORS and ELECTRICARS on the purchase of motors from MELEGARI to be applied in their automotive applications.
e) In case further licenses will be granted to any other licensee, under majority decision of the group of patent owners, the patent owner who may have possibly procured such licensee will be granted an extra remuneration valuing the 15% of the overall license remuneration, which it will be discounted from the overall values of patent remuneration before calculating its division to patent owners according to the above provisions b) and c).

List of Websites:
The EMPATHY WEBSITE has represented one of the most important assets for the dissemination of the project. The link of the website is: