SkyWay Insider: Creators of the Motor-Wheel

SkyWay Insider: Creators of the Motor-Wheel

24 December 2018 5599

The project designing organization SkyWay Technologies Co. is known for unique developments, innovative solutions, unusual approaches and bold ideas.

One of the most important components of the transport complexes we create is the electric motor that is part of SkyWay motor-wheels.

There are DC and AC motors, the latter in turn are divided into asynchronous and synchronous. Their main difference is in the design of the rotor: in synchronous motor, it is a permanent or electric magnet, and in asynchronous motor, there are poles on the rotor induced by a magnetic field of the stator.

For example, SkyWay vehicles use a synchronous traction motor built into the wheel, or a motor-wheel.

The transport module, equipped with electric motor-wheels, has several benefits:

  1. The absence of complex and heavy gears between the engine and the wheel, additional elements such as clutch, transmission, drive shafts, differential gearing operating "as one unit" in the internal combustion engine.
  2. Better dynamics, development of maximum torque at the lowest rpm.
  3. Simple replacement of software algorithms.
  4. A safer design due to the absence of combustible substances.
  5. And of course, environmental friendliness.


In order to find out more details, we talked to Ilya Zhagalsky, Head of the design bureau with pilot production of electric drives.

- Good day! What is your bureau doing?

- Hello! We are engaged in the development and production of electronics, power and converter equipment, as well as electric motors and electrical energy storage devices.

- Explain, please: originally there was the design bureau “Electric drive”, and then it was renamed as the design bureau with pilot production of electric drives?

- Not quite so. A new administration was created. Initially, we belonged to the Office of the rolling stock. And then, for greater efficiency, we were set apart into a separate administration with a new name of the design bureau with pilot production of electric drives by the decision of Anatoly Yunitskiy, SkyWay General designer.

- And what specialists work in your design bureau?

- Design engineers, electricians, wiremen, construction metal workers.

- What are you doing directly as the Head of the bureau?

- Office management, designing of electronics, writing software.

- What vehicles use the motor-wheel?

- Electric cars, electric bicycles, mine dump trucks, hoverboards.

- Why did your choice fall on this particular type of motor in the development of SkyWay transport?

- Because it has the best specific features, namely the torque per unit of mass. That is, with smaller dimensions and mass, we get grater torque. This electric motor has also more flexible control in a wide range of speeds. And its efficiency factor is higher than in other types of motors.

- And why did you decide to design your own motor-wheels instead of using the options available at the market?

- The market does not always have suitable options by features and parameters. And if you order an outsourced individual design for our projects, it may take much time and be quite expensive.

- In this case, our electric motors have a distinct benefit - they are designed individually for each vehicle. And can you point out other benefits?

- In comparison with the options available at the market, we can get more power with smaller weight and dimension indicators. We have achieved it through calculations and experiments.

- Are you planning to proceed to mass production?

- Yes, now we have pilot production to study and create motors for our vehicles, but we plan to launch serial production, too, because our electric motors are very competitive in terms of quality-to-price ratio.

- And how many types of motor-wheels has your bureau created? Does each vehicle have its own motor type?

- Unicar, monorail and double-rail unibuses have the same motor. Four motor-wheels are used in the first two modules, and the last one has 12 of them. There is also uniwind, it has a motor with smaller size and power. And, on the contrary, unicont and high-speed unibus have it with more power and size. That is, 5 types of motors have been developed and manufactured by now.

- And what is the lineup by power?

- 10, 20, 28, 35, 60 kilowatts.

- Other design bureaus are located in the office building, and you are at the production facility - why is that?

There are more possibilities for us here. We need to work with a test bench, we need a laboratory, assembly areas, equipment, three-phase voltage – all of it is not available in the office.

- Tell us about the bureau, about the team.

- We have a good team, 26 people already. We are growing and developing. 70% of employees is an engineering staff that develops and maintains articles in production. The rest are engaged with assembling and testing of prototypes. We do everything ourselves. From the idea to the physical sample.

Also please watch the video about the motor-wheel filmed earlier

Evgeny Petrov

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