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UK-based Advanced Electric Machines ramps £23M funding to build metal-free sustainable EV motors

Advanced Electric Machines c-founder
Picture credits: Advanced Electric Machines

While electrification is the key to addressing climate change, it is not as simple as merely implementing conventional infrastructure. We need technologies that are more sustainable to manufacture, use, and recycle than those they replace. One such startup working with this mission is UK-based Advanced Electric Machines (AEM). It has developed an alternative technology that will remove copper, helping it design and build sustainable electric motors.

Now, AEM has secured £23 million in Series A funding led by London-based Legal & General Capital and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital with additional investment from Par Equity. Other investors in the round are Northstar Ventures, the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 and Turquoise Capital LLP known for investing in Appital.

AEM’s ambitious plans 

The funding will be used by AEM to scale up production capacity at its facility in the North East, creating 40 new skilled green jobs in two years. Also, the company plans to establish a global sales and service footprint, accelerating the rollout of its HDSRM motor, designed for commercial vehicles, which is in production, to customers across the UK, Europe, North America and APAC.

AEM also plans to accelerate the development of its SSRD motor for passenger vehicles. Innovate UK, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, and leading academic and automotive partners, including Bentley Motors, have supported its development. Lastly, the UK startup also plans to bolster R&D capabilities to bring its copper-free motor to production and help it come closer to its goal of being the world’s most sustainable electric motor manufacturer.

Sustainable EV motors 

Founded in 2017 by Andrew Steven and James Widmer as a spin-out of Newcastle University, AEM designs and manufactures next-gen sustainable electric motors and powertrain systems that eliminate rare-earth magnets and copper windings. By eliminating rare earth permanent magnets, costs and reliance on geographically concentrated supply chains are reduced, and recyclability and environmental footprint of the motor is significantly improved.

Despite being sustainable, its motors are touted to deliver better performance and efficiency than rivals of permanent magnet motors. AEM’s advanced technology will enable passenger and commercial electric vehicle manufacturers to reduce their environmental impact and dependence on critical supply chains, without compromising on quality and performance. 

The HDSRM is a special kind of motor made by HDSRM. It doesn’t use magnets and is designed to be strong and work well. It can be used in different kinds of vehicles and is flexible in design to fit various power and torque needs. It’s good for trucks, industrial machines, farms, and even trailers. The motor can make the vehicle go up to 12% farther because of AEM’s special technology.

The SSRD is said to make passenger vehicles work better by having 45% more power for their weight than other motors. It can also act as a system for the vehicle to make it work well in different situations. As per AEM, this system is efficient, light, and strong, providing all the good things about the HDSRM.

Prof. James Widmer, CEO and co-founder of Advanced Electric Machines, said: “Today’s funding announcement clears our path to sustainable growth for years to come. It is a vote of confidence from the market in our vision, our technical capabilities and our mission to rid EV motors of harmful and problematic materials. Everyone at AEM and our new partners are excited for the role we are now able to play in making the electric vehicle sector truly sustainable.”

John Bromley, Managing Director – Clean Energy Strategy & Investments at Legal and General Capital, said: “Legal & General Capital invests in innovative businesses with the potential to accelerate progress to a low-carbon economy. AEM’s technology provides a sustainable, market-leading solution capable of eliminating the need for rare earth materials, thereby reducing emissions and supply chain risk. The UK has a long and successful history in cutting edge automotive technologies and by co-leading this investment, we are supporting AEM to fulfil its potential to create skilled jobs and generate global export revenues.”

Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments, Barclays, said: “AEM is

solving a fundamental constraint of the EV market – the reliance on rare earth metals for motors – which causes significant cost and supply chain challenges. By producing motors that don’t rely on these metals, AEM is able to remove the key barriers to the production and subsequent adoption of EVs. We are excited to be supporting AEM on the next stage of its journey as it expands into passenger vehicles, a growing market critical to the energy transition.”

Andrew Noble, Partner at Par Equity, said: “AEM has designed and built an electric powertrain motor which is greener, faster and more efficient than the incumbent solutions, resulting in significant market pull and potential for growth. It has all the ingredients of the type of business Par Equity likes to back, and we’re excited to partner with AEM at this critical stage as the company scales its team and capabilities to service a large and rapidly growing EV market.”

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