Sona Comstar and Israel’s IRP Systems join hands to create a magnet-less motor for EVs

India’s Sona Comstar, a global automotive component manufacturer, and Israel’s IRP Systems, a leading provider of electric powertrain solutions for e-mobility, have come together with iCreate (International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology), in a joint development project that will invent a new powertrain, manufacture it and market it globally. The project entails collaboration to conceive, design, prototype and manufacture a high efficiency, low-cost, magnet-less powertrain (motor + controller) for electric two and three wheelers, for the global market.

This powertrain is expected to give both Sona Comstar and IRP Systems a global competitive advantage, and targets substituting imports worth Rs 1,300 crore (USD 200 million), and capturing an export market many times this size. 

The collaboration has been conceived under iCreate’s ‘iEV Powertrain’ project, which is about creating an innovative motor-plus-controller combination that does not use rare earth elements like neodymium, besides offering high efficiency and low cost to manufacturers of electric two and three wheelers.

While there are several motor manufacturers in India, they still need to import the magnets. Apart from needing to be imported, rare earth elements represent a significant environmental impact in their mining process, and health risks in their use during the magnet production process. Also, the magnets are one of the more pricey parts of a motor.

“We are excited with this partnership as it will help India reduce its dependence on imports of critical raw materials. The system developed through this partnership will be environmentally-compatible and cost-effective, ensuring the security of natural resources by avoiding the use of rare earth elements,” said Kiran Deshmukh, CTO, Sona Comstar.

iCreate is an autonomous centre of excellence of the Government of Gujarat that was envisioned by Narendra Modi in 2012, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. In 2018, as the Prime Minister of India, he, along with the Prime Minister of Israel, inaugurated iCreate’s 40-acre campus.

IRP Systems provides high-performance electric powertrain systems for a variety of e-mobility platforms, enabling powerful and affordable electric vehicles through its TrueDrive™ product portfolio.

Sona Comstar is one of India’s leading automotive technology companies, designing, manufacturing, and supplying automotive systems and components such as differential assemblies, differential gears, conventional and micro-hybrid starter motors, BSG systems, EV traction motors (BLDC and PMSM) and motor control units to automotive OEMs across the US, Europe, India and China, across all vehicle categories such as conventional passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, off-highway vehicles, electric cars, electric light commercial vehicles, and electric two and three-wheelers.

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