In the dynamic world of electric motors and motion control, Mr. John Morehead stands as a distinguished industry veteran. With 27 years of experience, including executive roles in prominent companies like Bodine Electric, Bison Gear & Engineering, Dunkermotoren, Crouzet Motors, and Crouzet Automation, he's been a driving force in the field. Mr. Morehead's expertise extends from UAV drone motors and electronic speed controllers (ESCs) to cutting-edge 800 Volt electric vehicle (EV) motor systems.
What sets him apart is not just his extensive knowledge but also his unique global perspective, shaped by visits to motor manufacturing facilities worldwide. Today, we're honored to present a Q&A session with Mr. John Morehead. He'll share insights on the evolving role of electric motors in the EV industry, exciting technological advancements, and the vital contributions of organizations like the Electric Motor Education & Research Foundation (EMERF) in advancing the global growth of electric vehicles.
Join us as we explore the electrifying world of electric mobility through the eyes of this seasoned industry expert.
#LEVS: As a consultant to the electric motor industry, you have extensive experience in motors and motion control. How do you see the role of electric motors evolving in the future of electric vehicles, and what technological advancements are you most excited about?
#Mr John: Traditionally, the internal combustion engine was a key element of the identity and personality of an automobile or truck. With the shift to electric vehicles traditional auto and truck manufacturers will want to maintain that control. Thus, the huge investments in new facilities to produce new, innovative electric motors that will raise the bar in terms of performance, economy and reliability. Yes, some automotive OEMs will use motors produced by others, but primarily as a means of expedience in a rapidly growing market.
What’s exciting is the level of R&D investment the vehicle industry is able to make. The traditional electric motor industry has been miserly in terms of true R&D and a bastion of the not-invented-here (NIH) syndrome. Promising technologies like soft magnetic composites, printed circuit stators, active cooling, advanced microchip integration, electrostatic and magnet-free motor topologies will now see rapid development driven by the electric vehicle industry.
No longer will electric motors be viewed as simple electromechanical components, but they will become an integral part of a higher value mechatronic system, combining mechanical, computer and electrical systems.
#LEVS: The Electric Motor Education & Research Foundation (EMERF) was established as part of what is now the Association for Advancing Automation to play a crucial role in advancing the electric motor industry through education and pre-competitive research. How can organisations like EMERF contribute to the growth and development of electric vehicles on a global scale?
#Mr John: In areas where basic research such as that done in universities and government and private laboratories has the potential to fundamentally improve the electric motor industry but the required investment and timeline cannot be justified by individual companies, a pre-competitive research consortium made up of manufacturers and OEMs can accelerate that development through shared investment and enhanced resources. A successful example of such a pre-competitive research consortium was Sematech which was established in 1987 by 14 U.S. semiconductor manufacturers and the U.S. government at a time when Japan dominated the global chip market. Its work played a key role in the U.S. recapturing a dominant role in that market within 10 years.
Such pre-competitive research is aimed not at producing products, but rather at providing the tools, information and data that enables others to develop future products. The high-risk work offers equal benefits to all competitors who participate.
The electric vehicle phenomenon has drawn an unprecedented number of engineers into the electric motor field and in turn has sparked many motor technology early stage discoveries that could benefit from such further development in such a consortium.
#LEVS: In the context of electric vehicle adoption, marketing plays a vital role in attracting consumers. Could you share some insights into successful "thought leadership" marketing strategies that have effectively promoted electric vehicles to a broader audience?
#Mr John: An excellent example of thought leadership in the electric vehicle industry is the 2 and 3 wheel vehicle market in India. While the European and North American markets were focused on electric passenger cars produced at a premium to reduce emissions, India focused on where their largest number of ICE vehicles existed and provided incentives to the manufacture and adoption of 2 and 3 wheel electric vehicles. While this market was initially served with electric motors, controls and related part sets imported from China it gave birth to a tremendous number of new startup electric motor and control companies, often founded by fresh, inspired engineering graduates from Indian universities. And many of those young engineer entrepreneurs developed innovative new motor and control technologies to meet the particular needs of the Indian market and which may find their way into other international markets as well.
#LEVS: How do events like the London EV Show help in advancing and promoting the electric vehicle industry, and what specific benefits do they bring to manufacturers, consumers, and other stakeholders?
#Mr John: The London EV Show presents the opportunity for an attendee to not only see what is new and exciting in the electric vehicle market but to also interact with the vehicles and components themselves and to have questions answered and gather information from the exhibitors. It is also an invaluable experience for exhibitors because they not only can gauge interest in their offerings but also actively engage with attendees for necessary reactions, feedback and suggestions to help grow their business. The cross-fertilization possibilities for exhibitors are vast considering that it not only covers vehicle manufacturers but also the various component designers and manufacturers, particularly those supplying motors, controls, gearing, software, sensors,etc.
The London EV conference agenda also is an incredibly efficient means of getting the latest information on the many sectors of the EV market as well as current and future components, technologies and production methodologies. One would have to spend an inordinate amount of time inefficiently surfing the web to capture only a fraction of what could be seen, discussed and experienced in a single day at the event.