Mitsubishi Motors in conjunction with its Mitsubishi Electric sister company has created a prototype for an EV motor that measures just half the size of the one currently used in the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
Bear with us for the quick tech-name-dropping before we get to how it works: In its current production motor, Mitsubishi uses an external silicon carbide inverter. In the prototype, that’s all internally located in a lengthened tubular housing that houses the electric motor instead of being placed on top of the motor housing. Inverters channel electricity through wires from a battery to the electric motor, among other tasks. Using silicon carbide, it reduces resistance in the wiring, also making the motor more efficient. That allows Mitsubishi to be able to use thinner chips and a 50-percent overall reduction in power loss.
The downsized motor also allows for wiring to be wound tighter around the electric motor, creating a greater magnetic field in the electric motor with less space. That means that smaller motors will be even more powerful than existing ones used in electric vehicles and hybrids on the road today.
Translation: Mitsubishi’s prototype motor is smaller, more efficient, more powerful, and makes for even better packaging in a tight space.
Mitsubishi is looking to finish up testing on the prototype before licensing it to other automakers. If proven successful, Mitsubishi’s reinvented electric motor could usher in lighter, faster, and more efficient electric cars and hybrids. And because the electric motor will be smaller, that could also mean that the reduction in trunk space caused by adding batteries and motors could be reduced, and cars could have better packaging overall to make them more spacious for passengers, too.