Our Mission Is To Accelerate Electrification
YASA was founded in 2009, a spin out from Oxford University following the PhD of founder and still CTO, Dr Tim Woolmer.
Founded on the belief that small, powerful and efficient electric motors would play an increasingly important role in meeting the strict targets being set by policy makers globally, by enabling new, more efficient and sustainable means of transportation.
At the time, the electrification of the automotive industry was nascent and electric flight a distant prospect.
Since YASA’s incorporation, much has changed. Automotive OEMs have by and large embraced electrification. However, just about every EV on the market today utilises legacy radial motor technology. Easier to develop, the suppliers and systems already existed and it was the fastest route to for all manufacturers to join the EV market
But in 2005, Tim had a unique opportunity to explore a new way and began to look at the case for Axial Flux as an alternative.
The Science Bit
In 1821 Michael Faraday developed a primitive disk motor, which already had the shape of an axial flux machine. Axial flux offers unique properties due to its very real difference in design and shape to generate and manage electric power compared to radial flux. If radial flux offers high performance …axial flux is an ultra high-performance solution.
Over the decades that followed both of these technologies were explored. But despite the potential for weight reduction, smaller size, shorter axle length and increased torque, it was the difficulty in manufacturing the axial flux technology that limited its commercial viability, because the motor could not be made by stacking laminations, as with radial machines.
The axial flux design also suffered from several additional problems including poor cooling capability (key to repeatable maximum performance), difficulties in controlling the axial air gaps and a complex winding.
The breakthrough innovation came by segmenting the axial flux motor in discrete “pole-pieces “, so the motor could be manufactured using Soft Magnetic Composite material.
SMC can be pressed at low cost into a wide variety of 3D shapes. This removed the need for the complex laminations, overcoming the major manufacturing challenge of the axial flux machine. It also dramatically simplified the winding and ultimately transformed the cooling capability.
Bringing To Market
However, not all problems are technical. In 2010 when our first product was becoming a reality, there was advice to avoid the potentially difficult automotive market as being too complicated to convince.
But there were early successes:
- The Jaguar CX75 Concept featured 4 YASA motors.
- In 2013, YASA Motors powered a converted Lola LeMans Prototype, which set a then sub-1000kg electric land speed record.
- In 2015 and 2016, YASA powered race cars achieved an overall win and the first sub-9 minute run from an electric car at the famous Pikes Peak Hillclimb.
- At the same time our motors made their production road car debut in the Konigsegg Regera.
- YASA supplied motors that took speed records both on the water (2018) and in the air (2021)
The journey has involved developing our own robotic machines to build these unique motors. Effectively, we needed to ‘develop the machines that develop the machine’.
As a result YASA now holds over 150 patents for the yokeless and segmented armature from which our name originates, and for the processes by which they are manufactured.
Growth & Future
In 2018, YASA officially opened its 100,000 unit per annum e-motor serial production facility in Kidlington near Oxford, UK. Followed by specialist Controller development team, based in Welshpool, Wales.
YASA now supplies world-leading sports car manufacturers with innovative powertrain solutions based around its axial flux electric motors. In 2019, YASA announced Ferrari as its first OEM customer in volume production, with the ground-breaking hybrid Stradale SF90
After initially being in discussion with AMG as a potential customer, YASA became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz in 2021, with a remit to develop electric motors for Mercedes-Benz’s AMG.EA electric-only platform. We are now the electric innovation partner pioneering new electric drive technology for the Mercedes-Benz Group.