Drives and Controls Magazine
UK ‘could be a leader’ in motor design and production
Published:  22 May, 2024

The UK could establish itself as a leader in motor design and production, according to a new report from the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC). It argues that, with the European market for electric motors expected to expand three-fold to more than £27bn over the next decade, there will be “ample opportunities” for UK businesses willing to bet on shifting attitudes towards e-motor design and manufacture.

The 36-page report, called e-Motors Value Chain, suggests that focusing on certain types of motor – such as induction-based and electrically-excited synchronous motors (EESMs) – could pay dividends. Although it looks mainly at e-motors for electric vehicles, it says there are also opportunities in other sectors such as rail, marine, aviation and renewable energy.

“A resilient material supply chain for e-steel and copper is critical for the e-motor industry,” says the report’s lead author, Chris Jones, strategic trends manager at the APC. “While neodymium-based magnet technology dominates the market, there is innovation in alternative materials to reduce dependence on the rare earth supply chain. Materials such as iron ferrite and iron nitride show promise.

Chris Jones: a resilient supply chain is critical

“There is also a growing trend to using magnet-free motors,” he adds. “This would allow UK manufacturers to cut the costs associated with motor construction, diversify revenue streams, and establish a robust supply chain. Importantly, it could also lower the carbon impact of producing this vital material, which currently takes an indirect journey across Europe before eventually reaching our shores.”

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