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Mobility by thyssenkrupp

Electrical steel drives experts and solar car to top performance

Electrical steel, drive motors, laser beam cutters ...: All in a day’s work for Abdullah Kahveci, an electrical steel expert at thyssenkrupp’s Bochum plant. Since 2011 Kahveci, who has a degree in electrical engineering, has been working as part of the Applications Technology team to study the properties of electric motors of all kinds, and he uses his knowledge to advise developers and manufacturers of electric machines – including the SolarCar team at Bochum University.

“I’ve always been a fan of technology and innovations,” says Kahveci. He is particularly fascinated by future-oriented areas such as e-mobility. So he’s delighted by the collaboration between the Group and Bochum University on the SolarCar project, which started in 2013 and is now working on its third vehicle. “The students don’t just build the body of the solar-powered cars themselves, for some years they have also been manufacturing the hub motors mounted in the wheels.” He supports them with his expertise and his personal enthusiasm. “The project gives me an insight into technologies I wasn’t previously familiar with, for example how the solar panels and batteries work.” Seeing how the students work on the project and making his own contribution is a good mix that he really enjoys.
Toni from the SolarCar project media team and Abdullah Kaveci
Looking good: Toni from the SolarCar project media team and Abdullah Kaveci.
The motor is integrated in one of the wheels and supports the hub, allowing the torque to be transferred directly to the wheel. The steel experts and students in the SolarCar project are now looking into how the electrical steel influences the performance of the motor. Once the geometry and technical requirements for the motor have been defined, the most suitable electrical steel grade is selected.

For the 2017 SolarCar, Kahveci recommends the non-oriented electrical steel grade 030-160Y420 (formerly 280-30AP). “This material permits high energy density in a small space, two essential factors for e-mobility and thus also for the solar car,” he explains. The flat-rolled electrical steel is produced at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe’s Bochum plant and then cut into laminations using a CO2 laser beam cutter; the students then process the laminations into stators and rotors for the electric motors. “Great care is needed when processing the electrical steel,” Kahveci stresses, “because any inaccuracies could negatively impact the properties of the motor, which would result in lower performance or parasitic effects.” Kahveci finds it highly commendable that the students want to take on this challenge themselves rather than just buying in ready-to-install motors: “They get to know all the components from the ground up and know exactly how they work and what properties they have; that knowledge will help them in their future careers.”

Two hub motors will power the new SolarCar over 3,000 kilometers through the Australian outback at the World Solar Challenge this fall. Kahveci is looking forward to this event just as much as his student colleagues, and the prospect of it is inspiring them to top performance every day.
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