LEADING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME MAGAZINE

Equipmake launches range of F1-bred electric motors for marine applications

Leading electrification specialist, Equipmake, has readied a range of high performance yet cost-effective advanced electric motors for marine, bringing major benefits to multiple types of watercraft in terms of power density, packaging and reduced emissions.

Based in Norfolk, UK, Equipmake primarily provides EV technology to automotive OEMs and specialist supercar manufacturers, producing everything from industry-leading electric motors to power electronic systems, all the way up to complete EV drivetrains, while also operating across off-highway, construction and aerospace.

With the marine world trailing industries such as automotive on emissions regulation and alternative propulsion strategy, combined with pressure to reduce the environmental impact and noise of boats on coastal areas and ports, Equipmake sees many advantages for its motors to be used by electrified craft including RIBs, tugs and yachts.

The company’s APM motors, which incorporate many industry-leading innovations and are believed to be the most power dense in global series production, use technology born out of Equipmake Managing Director Ian Foley’s career in top-level motorsport.

A former Lotus and Benetton F1 engineer, Mr Foley’s research into electric motors and flywheels in the mid-2000s led to him play a key role in the development of Williams F1’s hybrid system, used in the 2009 F1 season. The resulting hybrid flywheel arrangement went on to further success in endurance racing with Porsche and Audi.

The high-speed flywheel developed for the Williams programme was effectively a composite electric motor, with Mr Foley applying the expertise gained to a new design: Equipmake’s APM range of ‘spoke’ electric motors.

These are permanent magnet motors that use a spoke architecture, so-called because the magnets are arranged like the spokes of a wheel, to bring a major cooling advantage. Because the motor can be kept cool, it can produce lots of power and torque, use less expensive magnet materials and conventional manufacturing methods, so can be made smaller, lighter and more cost-effective.

Ian Foley, Managing Director, Equipmake said: “From electric buses to supercars, the APM range of motors has made a step change to the efficiency and performance of our automotive clients’ products. Those same benefits – high power density and light weight, combined with an extremely compact package that includes integrated components such as the inverter and gearbox – are just as relevant to the world of marine.”

Equipmake offers two compact, power dense motors for marine applications, which both use the company’s spoke architecture to maximise cooling capability.

The APM 120 has peak power of 125kW at 12,000rpm, continuous power of 75kW and peak torque of 130Nm. Weighing just 14kg, it has a power density of just under 9kW per kg. With an integrated gearbox, it measures just 200mm in length and 170mm in diameter.

The APM 200 has peak power of 220kW at 10,000rpm, continuous power of 110kW and peak torque of 450Nm. Weighing just 40kg, it has a power density of over 5kW per kg. With an integrated gearbox, it measures just 247mm in length and 318mm in diameter.

Both motors can be specified with or without an integrated gearbox and can be mounted horizontally or vertically. Equipmake also makes all supporting power control electronics – including its own high-performance inverter which incorporates the latest silicon carbide diode technology to improve power capability and enable the inverter to run at high switching frequencies.

Mr Foley added: “There is no doubt that the electrification of the marine industry will accelerate rapidly in the coming years. Our high power, compact and lightweight electric motors can be used in multiple applications, from hybrid luxury yachts – allowing totally silent, emission-free cruising whether at sea or for inland navigation – to hybrid tugs and fully electrified RIBs. They are highly adaptable yet cost-effective to produce and a rapid route to an electric future. What’s more, Equipmake can work with almost any marine business to create an entire, tailormade electric powertrain.”

Late last year, Equipmake opened an all-new factory in Snetterton, Norfolk, where the company provides the complete electric mobility solution – whatever the sector – offering the capability to design, test and manufacture everything from motors to fully electrified platforms. It also sources and supplies the very latest lithium-ion batteries, creating entire electric drivetrains for an increasingly international customer base.