Sustainability – For a few percents more

You probably have secondary school physics lessons fresh in the memory. You were told that the efficiency of an electric motor is 95 % and for a combustion engine it is 15–20 %. Perhaps you took this for granted and moved on with your teenage life without further thinking. 

2,5 % from a lot is a lot

Although 95 % seems to be enough, reality is that it is not. Electric motors consume almost 50 % of the global electricity consumption. When you multiply 50 % by 95 % you get 2,5 %, which seems negligible. But when you multiply 2,5 % by 26 000 TWh you get 650 TWh, which isn’t negligible anymore. To put it into perspective, it is 25 % of Europe’s electricity production going to waste. 

Induction motor de facto standard

And to make matters worse, the actual efficiency of electric motors is usually lower than 95 %. Small motors create the majority of electric motors and have lower efficiency than large ones. The most common motor type is an induction motor created by Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s.  

The induction motor has simple structure and is thus easy to manufacture. The downside is that the efficiency cannot be improved, although it is at best in the high 90s. Due to cost-effectiveness, it is still the industry standard in most applications.

Alternatives available

Luckily there are alternatives available that don’t require the use of controversial rare-earth elements. One of these is synchronous reluctance motor that combines the efficiency of permanent magnet motors and simplicity of induction motors. Alongside with new innovations, legislation such as the IE classification and the search for cost and CO₂ reduction forces us to find more efficient options. 

100 or 1 000 km range

Higher efficiency also enables longer range for electric vehicles which were discussed earlier. Longer range would help the disruption of EVs from combustion engines. Although long range is usually not needed, for some reason we want to prepare for a non-stop 1 000 km road trip. But still less energy spent means more distance covered. 

Developing something new and solving challenges has always been close to our heart. That is why we at TT Gaskets are looking forward to see what the electric motor industry has to offer in the near future. And we are more than happy to help with sealing and insulation of standard and disruptive electric drives.