EV motor repair | Repairing BLDC motors from light electric vehicles – a chat with Motorama

Delhi-based Motorama is presently focused on repairing EV motors [mainly 2W and 3W motors (BLDC) for e-cycle, e-Scooter, e-rickshaw, and e-cargo vehicles]. The company, in the future, aspires to enter mass manufacturing of rare-earth free radial flux motors. We had a chat with founder Abhishek Gupta to understand more about their work and the nuances of EV motor repair. The start-up is one of the finalists at iCreate’s Evangelise 2022 incubation competition.

How many motors and the type of vehicle motor have been repaired to date?

We started in March 2021 and have repaired 720 EV motors to date, out of which 550 motors came from e-rickshaws. We receive nearly 40-50 motors every month from our B2B customers. We have repaired around 100-150 motors for Zyngo. Other customers include names such as SpeeGo, Save, Yulu and MYBYK.

The OEMs provide up to 2 years of warranty on the powertrain; we are in contact with multiple OEMs and Fleet operators to maintain/repair their EV motors.

Please share the economics of EV motor repair as a business.

In 2021, the price of an e-rickshaw motor price was around INR 3,000 to INR 3,500. In the past year, it rose to INR 4,000 – INR 4,500, while the repair cost has effectively come down. The cost of repair depends on the type of EV motor and the type of defects in the motor. For example, in case of winding failure, the customer can avail of a re-winding service at INR 900, or in case of demagnetisation, recharging of magnet costs around INR 900. In any case, we add INR 150 as a handling charge.

Please tell us about the customer profiles you service.

We are serving B2B customers pan India. Being located at Kashmere Gate, Delhi gives us the advantage of excellent transport connectivity, and we are able to transport a single motor at INR 40-50 anywhere in India. Our customers are mainly B2B, who generally send us 15-20 motors at a time. We endeavour to repair and send the motors back to the customer within 2-3 days.

We receive defective motors through courier services from across the country. A unique number/customer code is generated for each motor. We inspect the motors and create appropriate media, such as images/videos covering the current status of the motor and its subcomponents, our diagnoses and time/effort estimates to the customer for approval. The repairing work starts after the approval.

Once the motor is repaired, we carry out the following tests:

  • No load test (to check how much current the motor is taking)
  • Load test using a friction belt

And all these test videos of repaired motors are also sent to the customers.

What are the typical EV motor defects and the main reasons those defects develop in the motor?

The most common defects are winding failure and demagnetisation. We also frequently see shaft failure, bearing damage, hall sensor failure, physical cover damage, power cable connection problem, and issues with motor-controller tuning.

Main reasons for the defects:

  1. Lack of proper knowledge at the OEM level – Many OEMs have entered the business without the necessary technical skills, which frequently results in a mismatch between the motor and the controller.
  2. Cost reduction – The usage of poor quality sub-components to reduce cost.
  3. Environmental conditions – More defects are observed in summer and rainy weather. In summer, the winding can go up to 120 deg Celsius, leading to its failure.
  4. Driver behaviour – Many e-rickshaw drivers keep their foot on the brake, which leads to more than necessary current flow into the winding.

What kind of scale is needed to make EV motor repair a profitable business?

A volume of a minimum of 200-300 motors per month can make the business lucrative. We are also venturing into power electronic components repair, including DC-DC converters, chargers, and controllers. To date, we have repaired 50 controllers of e-rickshaw motors.

What are the skills required for EV motor repair?

Motor repairing is not new in India as we have had AC motors for a long, long time. For EVs, the need is to train the individuals to handle DC motors.

How have the motor repair assignments helped you?

The repairing business has been very helpful to us in developing our own motors, as we have already entered the network of prospective buyers, understood the supply chain for sub-components and gained practical knowledge of the majority of fault points in EV motors.

Please tell us about your ‘radial flux BLDC motor’.

We have developed a low-speed rear hub motor for e-bicycles and kickstart scooters of 250W 36/48V, with an efficiency of around 86%, Peak Torque 35Nm, Rated Torque 12Nm and RPM 200.

1 gram of Neodymium emits 2 kilograms of toxic emissions. We are replacing Neodymium Magnets with Ferrite, which helps us achieve 20% BOM and 100% availability in India while matching the performance of imported motors. We are in talks with a few OEMs and will open for the pilots in Jan 2023.

For more info, the readers can visit our website – www.motorama.in.

Also Read: Chara Technologies’ rare-earth magnet free motors

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