Company News May 24, 2012 11:00 AM
Electrical steel core: Bochum University and ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel jointly developing motor for new solar-powered car
The current SolarWorld GT solar-powered car is still on its way around the globe, but work is already starting at Bochum University of Applied Sciences, where it was built, on the next generation of self-sufficient electric mobility. For the first time, drive motors with electrical steel cores are to be fitted on all four wheels. The air core motors previously used for weight reasons offer limited power density. Electric cars of realistic weight and payload capacity require highly efficient electrical steel for the motor cores.
The team at Bochum University has been working on solar-powered cars for more than ten years with the aim of developing a vehicle suitable for day-to-day use. The new model, which has yet to be named, will set new standards in this respect. Designed as a touring car, it will be a two-seater like its predecessor but this time with three doors and a trunk. A team of students will unveil the sports car in May 2013, and the acid test will come in October 2013 when it will race in the World Solar Challenge in Australia: 3,000 kilometers from north to south across the continent, powered only by the sun’s rays.
For the first time, Bochum University is cooperating on the development of the motor with ThyssenKrupp subsidiary ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel, a global leading producer of electrical steel. Both partners agree that the new solar-powered car is the ideal platform to investigate the interaction between power electronics and electrical steel as the electric motor core material and to assess the diverse factors influencing overall vehicle performance. The top priority: The new solar car should use as little energy as possible.
“This project presents a good opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of highly efficient special steels in forward-looking applications,” says Dr. Peter Biele, Chairman of the Management Board of ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel. With its extensive experience in electric mobility and proximity to the plants in Bochum and Gelsenkirchen, Bochum University of Applied Sciences is the ideal partner for ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel.
For Prof. Dr. Pautzke, founder of the solar car team at the university and Professor for Electric Mobility, this represents the closing of a circle: “I started my career as head of maintenance at a steel mill. Now the material is once again central to my activities.”
About the project partners:
Bochum University of Applied Sciences has been developing and building solar-powered vehicles for over ten years. Some 40 engineering and business students are involved in this interdisciplinary project and participate successfully in international competitions such as the World Solar Challenge in Australia. The latest model SolarWorld GT is currently circling the globe driven by a team of students.
ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel is part of the Steel Europe business area of the ThyssenKrupp Group. Headquartered in Gelsenkirchen and with further plants elsewhere, including Bochum, the company is a global leader in the production of grain-oriented and non-oriented electrical steels. The soft magnetic steels are sold under the brand name PowerCore and used throughout the energy value chain: The spectrum ranges from electricity production in generators to transmission and distribution in transformers to the use of electrical energy in electric motors and devices. In the area of electric mobility, ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel is supporting the development of motors for hybrid and all-electric vehicles with new, specialized electrical steel grades.