Acquired by Mercedes-Benz, YASA’s revolutionary electric motor is set for big things


Tim Woolmer, Founder and CTO, thinks his axial-flux motors might be a mobility game-changer

Mike Butcher

@mikebutcher
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8 hours

Back in July, YASA (formerly Yokeless And Segmented Armature), a British electric motor start-up with a revolutionary axial-flux motor, was acquired by Mercedes-Benz. The acquisition didnt exactly gather huge press attention, as scant other details were revealed. But YASA is most likely to be an entity worth watching.
Established in 2009 after being spun out of Oxford University, YASA will now establish ultra-high-performance electrical motors for Mercedes-Benzs AMG.EA electric-only platform. It will remain in the UK as a totally owned subsidiary, serving both Mercedes-Benz and existing consumers like Ferrari. The company will maintain its own brand name, group, facilities, and location in Oxford.
YASAs axial-flux electrical motors created EV industry interest since of their performance, high power density, little size, and low weight.
By contrast, the radial electric motor style is more common in todays EV market. Even Tesla depends on radial electrical motors, a legacy innovation more than 40 years old with extremely little left to provide in regards to development.
YASAs axial-flux style, which has really thin sections, suggests they can be integrated into powerful single drive units. This makes them one-third the weight of other electric motors, more efficient, and with 3x greater power densities than Tesla.
Tim Woolmer, YASAs Founder and CTO, developed this brand-new method to electric motor design. I caught up with him to find out whats next.
TC: Whats the journey so far:
TW: We began just over 12 years ago with really one remit: lets accelerate electric automobiles, lets do anything we can to make electrical cars take place quicker. Were now 10 years into a 20-year revolution, every brand-new vehicle that gets sold in 10 years will be electric, no question. Because the speed of innovation is whats essential, theres nothing more interesting for an engineer than a duration of transformation. What is so amazing for us is we get to innovate quickly, and thats where the collaboration with Mercedes is truly interesting.
TC: What was various about the engine you developed?
TW: We started with a blank sheet of paper at the start of my PhD. And the concept was to say, what might be developed for the electric car market in 10 or 15 years from now that they would require, that we might satisfy. Something that was lighter, more effective, mass-producible in volume. In the 2000s, axial flux motors were not very common, but by integrating axial flux innovation and making a couple of little tweaks utilizing some new materials, I generally stumbled into this new design which we call YASA: Segmented and yokeless Armature. It takes what is a light topology in axial flux and makes it even lighter, about half as much once again. Theres a benefit due to the fact that the rotors are rotating at a larger size. So, basically torque is force times diameter, so for the exact same force, you get more torque. If you double your size, you get double the torque for the exact same quantity of materials. Thats the advantage of axial flux.
TC: Youve done this with offer with Mercedes– whats next?
The crucial thing is, if you watch how innovations filter down in automobile, they start in the luxury sector, like the Ferraris of this world, and then filter down into mainstream sector and then go into higher volumes after that. Thats a space where Mercedes are world-class in terms of their industrialization, so thats the kind of the idea behind the collaboration.
TC: What else can you do from here?
TW: We will have a really high, high power, low density and light-weight engine so we can explore sport performance coupled with high levels of industrialization. That puts us in a really special position for all sorts of things.
Although coy about his future strategies, Woolmer is certainly one to see in the EV and electric motor area. Post the acquisition YASA released this video:

Back in July, YASA (formerly Yokeless And Segmented Armature), a British electric motor start-up with an innovative axial-flux motor, was acquired by Mercedes-Benz. Founded in 2009 after being spun out of Oxford University, YASA will now establish ultra-high-performance electrical motors for Mercedes-Benzs AMG.EA electric-only platform. TW: We started just over 12 years ago with truly one remit: lets speed up electric cars, lets do anything we can to make electrical cars happen quicker. Were now 10 years into a 20-year transformation, every brand-new car that gets offered in 10 years will be electric, no question. In the 2000s, axial flux motors were not very common, but by combining axial flux innovation and making a couple of little tweaks using some new products, I generally stumbled into this brand-new design which we call YASA: Segmented and yokeless Armature.


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