WINDSOR, ONT. -- University of Windsor is receiving $4.3 million for next-gen electric vehicle research conducted in collaboration with the Canadian auto industry.

A multi-disciplinary team of UWindsor researchers led by the Faculty of Engineering’s Narayan Kar has received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in the amount of $1.9 million with additional industry cash and in-kind investment of $2.4 million.

It’s to develop lightweight, compact, aluminum-intensive induction motors for electric vehicles as well as motor testing technologies.

The project will train about 40 students from undergraduate to post-doctoral fellows.

“Our students will acquire research expertise and capabilities by interacting with supporting organizations to advance induction motor and automated motor testing technologies and to help propel a paradigm shift in overall electric vehicle design,” says Kar, who leads UWindsor’s Centre for Hybrid Automotive Research and Green Energy.

Researchers say these high-efficiency, high-performance motors have the potential to significantly reduce costs and extend the driving range of electric cars to meet aggressive 2025 traction motor targets set by the U.S. government, automakers and energy companies.

Ford Motor Company of Canada, D&V Electronics, and Nemak are partnering on and providing funds toward the research project that includes UWindsor experts in materials, electrical, mechanical, thermal, and software engineering.

Recent trends show electric vehicle manufacturers adopting multi-motor, all-wheel drive systems to increase driving range and performance. However, to support mass market adoption of these technologies, Kar says there is a critical need to develop motors that are high-performing, compact, lighter, cost-effective, and easily manufacturable.

“This collaboration aims to directly address these needs by developing lightweight, multi-material, and high-efficient traction motors with improved thermal and structural integrity,” he adds.

Nemak will cast the developed motor components using its new proprietary, high-strength, electrically conductive aluminum alloy, and D&V Electronics will help assess the new motors using advanced testing technologies. The final result will then be integrated into next generation electric vehicles.