Last updated on April 22nd, 2020 at 11:35 am
Linear Labs is an American-based company that was founded by Fred Hunstable and his son, Brad Hunstable. The former is an innovator in electric motors, while Brad was the co-founder of Ustream, a streaming service that got sold to IBM in 2016 for a cool $150M. The father and son team have come together to develop “a new class of electric motor“. They claim that their invention has two times the torque density, three times the power, offers 10% more range and is half the size of a top-performing permanent magnet motor.
It's not all myths and marketing, as Linear Labs has issued 22 patents and have a further 42 pending globally. The company develops and owns all of its technology, too. The motor in question is named the Hunstable Electric Turbine or HET for short. Linear Labs' motor uses a magnetic torque tunnel that encapsulates the stator (the part that sits stationary, while the rotor spins inside it), while the rotor itself is lined with the same polarity of that of the stator, meaning it doesn't waste any energy and allows it to rotate much more efficiently.
It's a new form of technology in motors and generators, where the HET combines both an Axial Flux and a Radial Flux design into one compact, lightweight format. Both these designs are usually deemed to have separate methods of interacting with the rotor, but for the first time, there's a motor that combines the two into one package. More information on these technologies can be found on this website.
What this means for future cars, is that it should theoretically offer a more adjustable torque speed, eliminates the need of a separate gearbox and a DC-DC converter, and with claims of it being more efficient and delivering more power it would theoretically mean car manufacturers could shed the weight of batteries, or alternatively offer far greater range.
The elimination of a gearbox is fascinating at this form factor. Traditionally, a gearbox is needed as a motor runs at high power and low torque, only – where a gearbox is needed for the car to run at different speeds and power. With the HET being a direct drive motor and doing all the work, the gearbox is completely eliminated from the equation; it means there are less moving parts and over the years, less wear and tear. For car manufacturers, it means fewer parts to worry about, less weight and a lower cost to implement.
And the new motor isn't just limited to electric cars – it extends to e-bikes, wind turbines and could even feature in ships, too. I can't wait to see what Linear Labs has to offer in the near future. I'd hope to see a few prototypes examples in modern-day electric vehicles.