Axial Flux Variable Gap Motor: Application in Vehicle Systems
Alternative electric motor geometry with potentially increased efficiency is being considered for hybrid electric vehicle applications. An axial flux motor with a dynamically adjustable air gap (i.e., mechanical field weakening) has been tested, analyzed, and modeled for use in a vehicle simulation tool at Argonne National Laboratory. The advantage of adjusting the flux is that the motor torque-speed characteristics can better match the vehicle load. The challenge in implementing an electric machine with these qualities is to develop a control strategy that takes advantage of the available efficiency improvements without using excessive energy to mechanically adjust the air gap and thus reduce the potential energy savings. Motor efficiency was mapped in terms of speed, torque, supply voltage, and rotor-to-stator air gap.