GE Reveals Electric Motor Without Dedicated Cooling System

By · September 28, 2012

GE motor

GE's next-generation electric motor is so advanced that it needs no dedicated cooling system. Instead, the motor relies on shared transmission fluid to keep temperature in check.

Engineers at General Electric claim to have successfully tested an ultra-efficient prototype electric vehicle motor with a peak power level of 55 kW (74 horsepower) and the ability to operate at a continuous temperature of 221 °F), using only conventional transmission fluid to cool the motor. According to GE, the motor is up to 5 percent more efficient than any motor available today and could theoretically boost the range of plug-in vehicles.

The motor's use of conventional transmission fluid for cooling could lead to lighter, less complicated plug-in vehicles. By eliminating the need for a dedicated cooling system (the motor shares its fluid with the vehicles transaxle) more space will be freed up for various uses (i.e. the install of a higher capacity battery pack or more passenger or cargo volume). General Electric is currently in discussion with electric motor manufacturers and automakers and is looking to commercialize its efficient electric motor by the end of 2015.

The next task for GE engineers is to duplicate the performance of this motor, but produce it without using rare earths. GE hopes to accomplish this task in the next four years.

Funds for development of the motor were partially provided by a $5.6 million grant from the US Department of Energy.

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