Dr. Simon Mandelj, Founder & CEO
A century ago, noiseless cars that drive autonomously without any emissions were considered science fiction. Today, as the growing impact of climate change and innovations in the automotive sector drive the development of innovative electric vehicles (EVs), practical applications of self-driving light electric vehicles (LEVs) have become a reality. However, even with several breakthroughs in the EV manufacturing space, LEV adoption is still not ubiquitous due to the complexities in integrating the disparate mechanical, electrical, and electronic parts, which leads to the addition of more components and increased weight. Manufacturers are also hindered by the exorbitant pricing of EVs—a challenge that they cannot resolve without compromising on the efficiency and performance of their electric drive system.
Slovenia-based GEM Motors addresses this challenge with its patented, modular multiphase motor technology that integrates all components of an electric drive system into a compact solution and simplifies the electrification of vehicles while minimising their weight and transmission costs. “Our solution is designed to be positioned closest to the wheel, which eliminates transmission inefficiencies and reduces controller losses while maintaining system efficiencies of up to 92 percent,” says Dr. Simon Mandelj, Founder and CEO of GEM Motors.
REVOLUTIONISING ELECTRIC DRIVE SYSTEMS
Founded in 2010 as a startup, GEM Motors is the brainchild of Dr. Mandelj, whose belief that mankind deserved better electric drive propulsion for LEVs led to transformative R&D powered purely by passion and creativity. The company is named after the first letters of Slovenian words for motion (Gibanje), electricity (Elektrika), and magnetics(Magnetika), which perfectly illustrates its core business area—electromagnetic drives. GEM Motors is based around the idea of Dr. Mandelj’s research on physical nonlinear modelling that subsequently led to the conception of an innovative electric motor with a simpler design and better efficiency. His garage-built prototype of an advanced electric motor garnered industry-wide attention and led to its eventual backing by private investors that funded further prototyping of the proposed motor specifications, and after three years of extensive R&D, the GEM Motors team finally presented its patented ‘Modular Multi-Phase Machine.’ This is a nextgen electric drive technology that also integrates motor controllers inside the in-wheel motor and offers additional features based on a modular design that power the solution’s unparalleled flexibility in meeting unique LEV specifications. “The complete design and development was performed inhouse, with the help of partners from research institutes and EU funding projects,” adds Dr. Mandelj.
Currently, GEM Motors’ portfolio comprises compact, modular, and highly integrated electric motors ranging from 1kW to 15kW, each powered by its proprietary electric motor technology.
The portfolio boasts advanced features such as enhanced safety and reliability, modular design that increases redundancy, and a fully-integrated inwheel drive that significantly shrinks the weight and maximises the efficiency of the overall drive system. Dr. Mandelj plans to continue the production of GEM Motors’ 20K/year G2.4 (nominal 4kW, peak 240Nm) and G2.6 (nominal 6-7kW, peak 350Nm) solutions, which are ideal for LEV application up to 1000kg (like e-scooter, motorbike, trikes, microcar) for personal and commercial usage. Concurrently, he elaborates on the imminent launch of its lower power solutions that are now in the pre-series stage as well as the announcement of a Q3/2022 production of G1.1 (nominal 1.5kW, peak 110Nm) and G1.3 (nominal 3kW, peak 170Nm) lightweight micromobility offerings. Additionally, GEM Motors is developing higher power products such as its G3 (15kW, 500Nm) solution that will begin testing in heavier vehicles over 1000kg by Q3/2022. On the automated vehicles and robotic applications side, the company offers its in-wheel drive G0 (800W, peak 80Nm), which is a unique solution with electromagnetic brake integration within the motor housing that provides the most compact e-drive system inthe segment. Due to the safety stock policy samples of GEM in-wheel drive are prepared in very short time for the customer testing and validation.
Apart from its production capabilities and expansive portfolio of electric motors, GEM Motors also offers R&D services for new motor development, all the way from ideation to the final solution. The company even provides collaborative customisation and development of complete motor and powertrain systems for LEVs with GEM in-wheel drive. These services are backed by a highly seasoned team comprising five PhD holders and over 30 patents.
TURNING EMOTION INTO A REALITY
Our solution is designed to be positioned closest to the wheel, which eliminates transmission inefficiencies and reduces controller losses while maintaining system efficiencies of up to 92 percent
Unlike typical electric drive systems that are bulky and highly complex, GEM Motors’ solutions are visionary designs with a low number of parts which effectively optimise the space to drive simplicity and superior performance. Additionally, the solutions also boast excellent cooling capabilities as well as regenerative braking and enhanced driving range (up to 20 percent) capabilities. From a performance perspective, GEM Motors’ products deliver high torque and better acceleration with field-oriented control (FOC) and markedly lower electromagnetic emissions (90 percent less) due to motor controller integration.
As an organisation, GEM Motors’ mission is to create awareness about e-mobility solutions as a real, practical alternative to existing fossil fuel-powered locomotion. To achieve this, the company has developed a comprehensive range of electric drive solutions capable of catalysing the ubiquitous adoption of electric vehicles in daily urban transportation. Above all, GEM Motors is dedicated to the creation of a sustainable future by always working toward the development of solutions that increase the quality of life for its clients.
On the other hand, the company is laser-focused on supporting the professional growth of its workforce to bring out its best creative potential.
With such strong core competencies, GEM Motors has ignited several success stories in the LEV segment since its inception. In one instance, the company helped Swiss-based BICAR develop their innovative three-wheel urban mobility solution for last-mile delivery. In this project, the company blended the bestsuited electric motor that enabled the client in providing a sustainable urban mobility solution for last-mile deliveries. Similarly, GEM Motors played an important role in the development of three-wheel vehicle VIPI for cargo transportation and utility applications by performing the complete optimal concept development of the customer’s powertrain system with two GEM in-wheel drives G2.4. As a result, the final vehicle delivered especially high torque performance for demanding highload applications. With respect to other applications, GEM Motors is also working toward developing generators that convert oscillating energy and vibrations to electric energy for ship, road, and rail transport.
THE FUTURE OF EMOTION
At the heart of this success is the company’s laser focus on providing advanced e-drive solutions with premium performance and high quality for more demanding applications in the LEV market. Dr. Mandelj further mentions how his e-drive solutions’ in-house nature drives GEM Motors’ lightningfast response times for customer needs and requirements. “Due to modular motor design, we can provide motor samples with customisation in a very short time, which is attractive for customers that are limited with project deadlines,” states Dr. Mandelj. At the same time, GEM Motors continually learns from all its projects and uses them as references in similar future endeavours to deliver fast solutions that are ready to go to market. All these factors have helped GEM Motors’ build a proven track record and win several accolades, including the 2013 finalist on Forum of Innovations, the 2015 grant for SME1 funding, the 2016 grant for FTI funding—for one of most disruptive future EU technologies—and the 2021 WIPO IP Enterprise Trophy.
Due to modular motor design, we can provide motor samples with customisation in a very short time, which is attractive for customers that are limited with project deadlines
Moving forward, GEM Motors aims to emphasise its quality by implementing ISO 9001 standard shortly in March 2022 and ISO14001 in Q1/2023 and invest in new technology equipment, which will expand its production capacity to more than 50K pieces/year of GEM in-wheel drives for global customers. From a geographical standpoint, the company wants to penetrate additional markets such as North America and Japan while strengthening its existing footprint in the EU.