A recurrent theme in these columns has been the evolution of small vehicles and charging systems that could well take place in gated communities and planned municipal communities. Particular articles have covered:
- Diverse mobility systems, including on-call vehicle sharing, self-driving, multipassenger vehicles, and the usefulness of autonomous vehicles in the gated community environment;
- Upgraded Level 2 charging systems for individual residences and public access areas;
- New types of enhanced electric vehicles that bridge the gap between inside and outside the gates travel needs.
In this context, I would like to look “under the hood” of a new vehicle entry, the Baro One and point out some of the significant components that could transform the small vehicle universe, including commercially-available, cutting edge retro-fits that can seriously upgrade performance in your personal transportation vehicle (PTV).
Innovation adoption as a two-way process
Innovation rarely happens outside the context of forces in the environment that are simultaneously changing and set the stage for the emergence of new products. For example, the frenetic attention being given the development of electric vehicles and the range of components from drive systems to batteries would not have occurred without the heightened concern for the environment and the effort to reduce hydrocarbon-derived pollution. On-road electric vehicle development has, in turn, underwritten a huge amount of on-going electric motor research and potential new avenues in battery technology.
The complimentary concern for urban congestion, as well as air-born pollution, has spawned intense interest not only in electric-powered vehicles, but also much smaller vehicles, and vehicles integrated into more optimal, smart cities. We are on the threshold of these changes, which are, at the moment being spearheaded by European manufacturers and in European urban environments.
As these new products and systems emerge, they will feedback on the whole concept of urban mobility, refining and further augmenting the development of cities of the not-so-distant future. Along the way products will come to the fore that are, in fact, immediately applicable to cities and, in particular, the gated community, such as yours, of today. One such product is the Baro One low-speed vehicle and the many refinements it brings to the table.
The Baro One as a transition vehicle
The Baro One Golf Car is a transition vehicle for a variety of reasons. This new vehicle, developed by Baro Vehicles, based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, U.K., has the following features, which clearly differentiates it from what we know as a “golf car”:
- Level 3 autonomy, which means the vehicle, through its sophisticated sensory system and software, is close to being fully autonomous, i.e., self-driving;
- Replaces the conventional steering wheel with a joystick, permitting human driver intervention, or full control;
- Joystick control capable of accelerating, braking, stopping and turning;
- An axial flux permanent magnet motor;
- Eye-appealing styling, including an integrated, panoramic front windshield, assuring this vehicle will never be mistaken for your conventional golf cart.
- Under the hood is a newly-designed axial flux permanent magnet motor
One of the vehicle’s features bears special attention—the axial flux permanent magnate (AFPM) DC electric motor developed by Saietta. Saietta is another English company, based in Oxfordshire, U.K., and seeks to apply its AFPM technology across a wide range of applications from motorsports, forklifts, water pumps, compressors, and even aircraft. Baro believes the Saietta motor will set a standard for the next stage of small vehicle development.
Permanent magnate motors are known to be more efficient than conventional electric motors. The problem has been cost, because the materials used in such magnets are rare and expensive. Many attempts have been made to alter the elemental components of these magnets to bring down the costs and these efforts are starting to pay off. Specific advantages of the PM motors are:
- Smaller—close to 1/3 the size of a traditional AC induction motor;
- Lighter—greater power density results in a significant weight reduction;
- Greater efficiency—90% efficiency for most of the working range required by the application;
- Continuous power close to 75% of peak power, based on unique Ashwoods design.
Other PM companies
SilverWolf Vehicles, Inc.
SilverWolf is a Canadian company and made a name for itself with its 4WD conversion kits, introduced several years ago. Now the company has developed and is marketing a 12 hp PM AC motor, which it packages with either a 460 amp or 760 amp controller, specially designed for the motor. The motor is about ½ the weight of a conventional AC
The motor-controller combination results in as much as 20% increased distance and substantially greater torque and horsepower than the conventional induction motor. The two components together run a little under $2,000, making this a retrofit at a very attractive price.
From the standpoint of immediate application, SilverWolf is, by far, ahead of the game as compared with other companies that are in the prototype, proof-of-technology stage. Ashwoods will give SilverWolf a run for their money, if they focus on PTVs and establish sales, distribution, and service in the U.S.
Ashwoods Electric Motors
Ashwoods is based in Exeter, the U.K. and exhibited their line of axial flux permanent magnate motor at last January’s PGA Show in Orlando. With an appearance at the PGA Show, Ashwoods clearly has a focus on the traction market for eSTOVs. The company had on exhibit three PM models, the 200-33, 200-50, and 200-66. Here are the official performance parameters:
Motor Voltage (V) Current (A) Power (kW)
200-33 24-48 350 5-14
200-50 48-80 350 10-16
200-66 48-80 650 20-32
Source: Ashwoods Electric Motors, Ltd.
***Converting standard conversion ratios, these electric motors deliver from 6.7 h.p. to over 42 h.p. of power.
Magnax, a Belgium-based company, has announced prototype development of a powerful AFPM electric motor. The company’s approach to AFPM design and technology, according to the company, has the following advantages:
- Dual permanent magnet rotors, for the highest possible torque-to-weight ratio;
- Yokeless stator, for the shortest possible flux paths;
- Rectangular section copper wire, for the highest possible copper fill factor;
- Concentrated windings, eliminating coil overhang;
- High performance, grain-oriented electrical steel, thereby lowering core losses;
- Patented system for cooling the winding, for the lowest possible stator temperature;
- A manufacturing chain based on low-cost, scalable production processes.
For those with a further technical bent, see the Magnax white paper at https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/2795152/WP-%20High%20Efficiency%20Axial%20Flux%20Machines%20-%20whitepaper%20v1.7.pdf.
These developments are moving to the forefront as we speak. At the same time battery technology is actually advancing beyond the lithium battery packs now commercially available. More about batteries next month.
Contact the Author: Steve Metzger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check out our website at www.smallvehicleresource.com, where you will find an extensive database of vehicle models and can make side-by-side comparisons of vehicles based on a full set of specifications.