Inside Yasa: how a British firm is revolutionizing electric cars
For the next two generations of Yasa, Woolmer believes, the company’s technology will provide a strategic advantage for Mercedes and friends, but eventually (“perhaps by 2040”) it will spread more widely. Ultimately, axial-flow technology should be mainstream, he says, but not yet.
As for Yasa’s impressive technical advancements, Woolmer says he’s reached his fourth generation and can see the fifth on the horizon.
On all occasions, he points to the main advantages of axial-flow machines – “reduced weight, reduced size, reduced cost, increased efficiency” – but thinks these things will only deliver their potential when future cars get the most out of their advantages.
AMG EVs and subsequent standard Mercedes models will utilize Yasa’s rapid advancements in two stages, he explains. The first is exemplified by a “beautiful” new drive unit, already designed for an AMG, which integrates a 1000 hp motor, inverter and planetary gearbox into a single concentric torque vectoring unit on the axle back. The likely effect of this unit on vehicle wrap freedom could be enormous.
Beyond that, says Woolmer, there’s a realistic promise of in-wheel motors, live technology for which details remain super secret. But it’s possible that the sixth-generation Yasa could create engines that are light enough, compact enough and powerful enough to be carried inside a car’s steering wheel, in unity with its hub.