Eco-friendly car contract

Chris Kirby, managing director of Magnomatics.
Chris Kirby, managing director of Magnomatics.
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Hi-tech Sheffield University spin out, Magnomatics, is working on multimillion pound contracts to develop the eco-friendly, energy-efficient vehicles of the future.

The company, based at Sheffield Technology Parks’ city centre site, has teamed up with top companies Siemens AG, Volkswagen and Fiat on the contracts, which are worth more than $25 million (£15.5 million).

One project aims to develop a radical new vehicle concept for urban driving, while the other will develop technology for electric vehicles.

Both will make use of Magnomatics’ innovative proprietary technology, using magnetic transmissions and ultra compact and efficient motors and generators.

Magnomatics managing director, Chris Kirby, said: “We are extremely pleased and proud to have been chosen to work on two large EU projects with some of the world’s most high-profile companies.

“It’s very exciting to think that our technology, which has been entirely developed in Sheffield, could help revolutionise next generation vehicles across the globe.”

Magnomatics was formed in 2006 on the back of work by Sheffield University’s internationally renowned electrical machines and drives research group

The company has developed revolutionary motors and drives which use magnetic gears that do not physically mesh and are quieter, more efficient, more reliable and require less maintenance than conventional mechanical alternatives.

Magnomatics’ PDD (Pseudo Direct Drive) motors are significantly smaller and lighter than other types of electrical motors, and don’t need a mechanical gearbox in some high speed applications.

Other successes for the company have included a six-figure contract with the Ministry of Defence to develop a magnetically geared motor, based on Magnomatics’ PDD technology, which could be used to power frigates and submarines.

Magnomatics’ technology would allow ships to adopt a more flexible layout, creating a smaller target for enemy missiles, and would eliminate the need for long rotating shafts.