High fives were had all around as CalSol’s Motor team recently submitted its final project proposal for the Big Ideas at Berkeley Grant Competition. But it was not long before we were back with our noses to the grindstone.
The CalSol Motor subteam (nicknamed “Rotors in Motion”) was born out of the challenges the team had getting our motor to run consistently leading up to the World Solar Challenge. While we were ultimately successful in coaxing our motor to run smoothly, the performance was still suboptimal. That, and the conviction of Professor Dennis Lieu that we could create a better machine ourselves, gave birth to our mission to design and build a new solar vehicle motor from the ground up. Specifically, we hope to introduce transverse flux technology to the solar racing community, which has hitherto relied almost entirely on a narrow selection of axial flux motors.
While more difficult to construct, transverse flux motors innately have about twice the energy density of axial flux motors. This means that for the same power output, a transverse flux motor can be about half the size of an axial flux motor. In addition to saving weight on the motor itself, this allows for a slimmer rear suspension and wheel fairing, which are indispensible attributes in a solar racer.