EVs AS MOTION DESIGN KIN
It’s deeply satisfying when new (and burgeoning) industries adopt the electric motors we in the motion-control industry know so well — especially for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs), passenger hybrid vehicles, and all-electric vehicles (EVs). Multiple decades in the motion industry have imparted in this author a reverence and irrational love for all types of electric motors (and their uses) whether induction, brushed, permanent magnet, stepper, direct drive, Lorenz force, or linear … and the list goes on.
Of course, EVs constitute their own industry — as separate from motion control and discrete automation as process control employing electric motors in fans and pumps and the like. Even so, there is kinship between our industries because of this commonality in motors. Plus automotive uses for electric motors have proven an effective cross-pollinating source of innovation for various industrial automation applications.
Consider fellows in motor appreciation at the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) to inspire and capture imaginations like traditional American car culture once did. In fact, NEDRA’s mission is to boost public awareness of EV performance and (through safe dragrace competitions) spur new EV innovations. My own family from the Dubiel clan of Youngstown, Ohio won one such competition several years ago. Much like FIRST Robotics competitions, these events engage adults and young folks to consider the basics of engineering and get scrappy — in some cases using power-tool batteries, harvested golf-cart and dragster parts, and of course motors (typically permanent magnet) to build zippy electric speedsters for dead-silent speed. I’d argue that it’s through such tinkering that the highest understanding and reverence for technologies are born.
Such programs will likely do little to reverse the much-covered trend of young folks (especially Millennials) relatively disinterested in car culture and getting drivers licenses … though postponed onset of driving is probably an overall win for roadway safety anyway. The pandemic didn’t help matters.
The trend only emphasizes a practicality in young people who later welcome EVs even if these vehicles fail to satisfy old notions of what constitutes a cool car. More than 800,000 hybrid vehicles and 430,000 EVs were sold in the U.S. last year — representing nearly a hundredfold YoY increase and (for the first time) more than 10% of all new light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S. That’s a gratifying number of new electric motors out there.
Filed Under: DIGITAL ISSUES