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Measurement of in-wheel motor performances based on

deceleration method

G. Lampi
, M. Franko
, G. Gotovac
, J. Valentini
and A. Detela

Elaphe d.o.o., Slovenia
Univerza v Ljubljani, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Slovenia
Joef Stefan Institute, Slovenia


In-wheel motors are able to provide a high torque even at low rotation speed, thus they can be mounted directly
(without mechanical transmission) on the drive shaft. In vehicle applications they are mounted directly in the rim of the
wheel that is why they are named in-wheel motors. Besides torque and mass of the motor, the efficiency and the
torque constant are some of the most crucial parameters for the performance of in-wheel motors. The efficiency and
torque constant of Elaphe*3 prototype in-wheel motor, which was designed as a scooter propulsion system, were
determined by a deceleration method. The rotor was first mechanically accelerated to a certain angular speed and then
left to rotate freely. Its rotation speed decelerated due to the torque caused by mechanical and/or electrical losses.
During the deceleration the rotational speed and induced voltage were measured. The measurement was performed two
times. In the first measurement, the motor was without permanent magnets, thus the deceleration was caused by
mechanical losses only, whereas in the second measurement the motor had magnets mounted on the rotor, thus the
deceleration was caused by both, electrical and mechanical losses. By applying appropriate equations the losses and
torque constant were calculated.

Keywords: personal electric vehicle (PEV), electrical propulsion system, in-wheel, direct drive, efficiency, losses,
torque constant, deceleration method

1 Introduction

The personal electric vehicle (PEV) emerged
as a new category of transportation device in
the late 1990s. PEVs transport a single
passenger over distances of 10 to 30 km and
employ electricity as the primary energy
source. The category is principally comprised
of electric-powered scooters, bicycles and
neighbourhood electric vehicles. The PEV
therefore offers many intriguing possibilities
for extending the human range of mobility
from about 1 km (via walking) to 10 km or
more. However, the full potential of the
category has not been realized, to a large
extent because the vehicles are not yet light
enough, do not go far enough, and cost too
much. [1]. Nevertheless, there are already over
18 million two-wheeled electric vehicles sold
in Asia every year [2]. Power-assist bicycles
are the fastest growing vehicle market in Asia
and most of them are using direct drives [3].
The main challenges for PEVs are energy
storage and efficient propulsion system
comprised of efficient electric motor and
The efficiency of electric motors is one
of the most important parameters and it
depends on mechanical and electrical losses of
the motor. The achieved efficiency indicates
the quality of motor design and production
technology. As a drive motor a brushed DC
motor or a brushless DC motor can be used,
while larger vehicles such as electric
automobiles mostly use AC synchronous
motors. The difference between these
technologies lies in the way the motor is
commutated. Commutation is the switching of
electric power to the appropriate coil in the
motor winding at the appropriate angle of
revolution of the motors rotor. Commutation
is done electronically for brushless motors by
sensing the rotor position and electronically
switching power to the appropriate motor
winding, while with a brushed motor, the
commutation is done through a sliding
brush (usually a block of carbon)
contacting one of a set of discrete contact
points on the motor rotor. The electronic
commutation of the brushless motors requires
a complex controller for the motor, but the
whole propulsion system can achieve a much
higher efficiency then brushed motors.
In the case of a brushless motor with
permanent magnets, the highest electrical
losses are in copper wires and the stator sheet
stack whereas the highest mechanical losses
are in bearings and sealing rings.
In this paper a simple method for
measuring efficiency and torque constant on
three-phase synchronous brushless motor is
presented. It is especially the simplicity of the
method that makes it interesting in case no
special measuring equipment is available.
Results presented in the following chapters
were measured using the simplest of
instruments, while taking advantage of some
basic principles of physics. The motor was
designed as a direct drive motor for an electric
scooter, thus it has an inverted construction as
shown in Napaka! Vira sklicevanja ni bilo
mogoe najti.. The stator is fixed on the shaft
(coils are not shown in the figure) and magnets
are glued on the inside surface of the rotor.
The rotor also serves as the rim of the wheel.

Figure 1: An inside view of Elaphe*3 in-
wheel motor

The deceleration method was used to
measure the given motors performances. The
method is described in section 2 and was also
used for measuring aerodynamic drag of
vehicles [4] and for the measurement of
aerodynamic and rolling resistance in cycling
[5] to mention just a few of them.

2 The measurement method

2.1 Electrical and mechanical losses

The physical background of the measurement
is the relation between the angular deceleration
o and the torque T that occurs due to the losses
(Eq. 1)

T = J o , (1)
where J is the moment of inertia of the rotor.
To calculate the torque, the moment of inertia
must be known. In our case it was calculated
from the 3D drawing of the rotor; however it
can also be measured by several methods not
covered in this paper.
The rotor was first mechanically
accelerated to an angular speed of about 10

and then it was rotating freely until it
stopped due to the torque caused by
mechanical and/or electrical losses. When the
rotor was decelerating the rotational speed was
measured constantly. The rotation of the rotor
was filmed by a camera with 25 frames per
second. From the video it was easy to extract
the angle of rotation

m that rotor made in a
certain time. To calculate angular speed

e and
angular deceleration

o , Eq. 2 and Eq. 3 were
used respectively.

e =

o =

The torque that causes the deceleration
of rotation appears due to the mechanical
losses (in bearings and sealing rings) and
electrical losses (the losses in iron due to the
induced voltage).
Two measurements were performed to
measure the electrical and mechanical losses.
In the first measurement (further denoted as
M1), the motor had no permanent magnets on
the rotor, thus no electrical losses occurred
during the rotation of the rotor and only
mechanical losses caused the torque that was
reducing the rotational speed of the rotor. In
the second measurement (further denoted as
M2) a complete functional motor with coils
and permanent magnets was under
observation. In this case the rotational speed of
the rotor was reduced by both, mechanical and
electrical losses (Table 1).

Table 1: Two types of measurements

It is expected that the torque due to the
electrical and mechanical losses is not
constant, but that it depends on the operating
conditions, i.e. on the load of the motor and
the rotational speed. Thus, it is more
convenient to express losses in power than in
energy. The mechanical losses P
electrical losses P
can be calculated with the
following equations:

M1 M1 mec

= T P (4)

M2 M2 mec el

= + T P P (5)


are decelerating torques of

M1 and M2.

2.2 Torque constant

The torque constant will help us determine the
current required for achieving a certain torque,
thus it will make possible to calculate the ohm
Assuming the efficiency is 1, the power in the
motor equals to the power out of the motor,

T e=U I. (6)
The torque constant K is defined as the ratio:

K =
When using the deceleration method to
calculate torque constant it is more convenient
to calculate K from induced voltage U and
rotational speed e. Both can be extracted from
the induced voltage signal during the rotor
rotation. Obviously, the induced voltage signal
U was acquired only in measurement M2 since
in measurement M1 the induced voltage was 0.

The typical signal when measuring induced
voltage during constant rotational speed is
shown in fig. 2:

Figure 2

The signal shows induced voltage between two
phases versus time. Each period represents a
sample where rotor turns for one magnetic
period. From the duration of one period we
can calculate rotational speed and e

as shown
in equation 8 from the induced voltage
between two phases we can calculate the
induced voltage in each coil.
0 0
K t

K is the number of magnetic periods
on the stator.
= (9)
U is the measured induced voltage
between two phases.

K can be then simply calculated by equation 7.
To get the better accuracy we can calculate K
in many periods and take the mean value.
Measurement Components Losses
All without
the magnets
M2 All
and electrical
Due to possible uncertainties in measurements
and second order effects all of the calculated
torque constants are not completely equal. The
results are presented in fig. 3.

Figure 3

If we take a median value we get 0.56 Nm/A.

When we can compare this data from a simple
deceleration method of measurement and
compare it with measurements on expensive
equipment, we get very similar results.

2.3 Ohm losses

The ohm losses can be calculated as a product
of coil resistance and current. If we measure
the motors voltage constant, as we have
shown in the previous chapter we can calculate
required winding current and from coil
resistance we can calculate the ohm losses.
The ohm losses are defined by the equation

= R I
, (11)
where R is the electrical resistance of the coil
and I is the effective electric current applied to
the motor, calculated by the equation 7. In
order to calculate the ohm losses in coils, the
electrical resistance of the coil has to be
measured when the rotor is not rotating. To
calculate or predict the ohm loses in various
operating conditions, the required current
applied to the motor to reach the operating
condition has to be known.

2.4 Frictional losses

The frictional loses can be measured by
decelerating M1 motor. Firstly we measure the
accumulated angle of rotation, show in fig 4.

Figure 4: Angle versus time for M1

The angle of rotation will be a base for
determination of friction forces on the rotor,
also explained by equations 2 and 3.
The calculation of angular speed is done by
derivate of the angle of rotation from fig. 4.

Figure 5: Angular speed versus time

As shown in equation 3, angular deceleration
can also be calculated as a derivate of angular

Figure 6: Angular deceleration vs. time for

We see that the deceleration is more
significant in the beginning of the
measurement, when the angular speed was

The torque can be calculated as the product of
angular deceleration and moment of inertia as
written in equation 1, where we have to
subtract the moment of inertia of magnets that
are not included in the M1 motor.

Figure 7: Torque versus time for M1

The next step is to calculate the dependence of
the deceleration torque not versus time but
versus angular frequency in order to get the
general characteristic, which we are interested

Figure 8: Torque vs. angular frequency

This result is independent of measurement
specifics and can be used as a general
characteristic of friction losses in a given
motor. No matter how you make a
measurement, you can read a friction loss at a
given frequency from this graph.

2.5 Hysteresis and eddy current

The losses in stator steel originate from two
different sources. The first source is the
hysteresis losses caused by magnetization and
demagnetization of magnetic material, the
second source is eddy losses caused by ohm
losses of currents that are induced in
ferromagnetic materials.
The deceleration torque is measured by the
same method as in a previous example,
starting by measuring angle of rotation vs.

Figure 9: Angle of rotation vs. time for M2

Function showing the angle of rotation vs.
time is followed by first and second derivative
representing angular speed and angular

Figure 10: Angular frequency vs. time for M2

In the case of M2 measurement the angular
speed was actually measured (trough induced
voltage data) and angle of rotation was
integrated as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 11: Angular deceleration vs. time for

As in previous case we multiply the
acceleration with moment of inertia and get
the torque vs. time curve.

Figure 12: Torque vs. time for M2

The next step is transformation of torque
function versus time to torque vs. angular

Figure 13: Deceleration torque vs. time

If we conclude we can combine all loses and
compare them with theoretical predictions.

The following figure represents the friction
losses (light-blue), stator steel loses
measurement and theoretical prediction (red
and green) as well as all angular speed
dependent losses summed up (navy-blue).

Figure 14: Friction, Steel (measured,
predicted), complete losses in M2 motor

3 The efficiency

The efficiency of the motor depends on the
load of the motor and the rotational speed, i.e.
operating conditions. Thus, it is more
appropriate to calculate the efficiency in
various operating conditions through power
ratios than through energy ratios. The
efficiency n is defined by the equation:

n =
, (10)
where P
is the mechanical power provided
by the motor

= T e (11)
and P
is the electrical power provided to the

ohm el mec OUT IN
P P P P P + = . (12)
From above equations (Eq. 10, 11, 12) the
efficiency of the motor is defined as:

ohm el mec

n (13)
At any given rotation frequency and required
torque the power of mechanical and electrical
losses can be calculated from the before-
mentioned deceleration torque vs. frequency
curves. Dependency describing mechanical
losses vs. frequency from discrete
measurement data obtained in the experiment
can be written as:
0021 . 0 172 . 0 e e = Nms Nm P

Furthermore we can write the equation for the
electrical losses in the same way as:
066 . 0 427 . 0 e e = Nms Nm P

Finally we complete the efficiency calculation
with ohm losses contribution:



where the resistance of winding is R=33.3m
and N is the number of motor phases, in this
case 3.

4 Results

To test the deceleration method the following
comparison with theory and standard
measuring equipment was done. The benefits
of deceleration method in comparison to
ordinary method are also in identification of
losses, not just the accumulated value.
*Additional losses are losses due to imperfect
production process.

If we combine all data we get the final
efficiency map in relation to angular speed and
torque. From the map, also called mussel
diagram (fig. 15.), we can extract the
efficiency of the motor for given frequency
and torque. The 500W, 1kW, 2kW and 5kW
curves are also shown as well as two basic
working points. The efficiency is decreasing
by 1% between contour curves. This kind of
analysis is quite important in drive train
optimization, as the efficiency must be as high
as possible in common operation points to
increase overall efficiency of the drive train.

Figure 15: Mussel diagram

Measurement or calculation method 21.50.4 33.00.3 44.00.3 55.51
Theory 1 (idealization)
.76 .68 .62 .56
Theory 2* (additional losses)
.70 .65 .59 .54
Measurement with a brake .71 .64 .59 /
Deceleration method .72 .65 .59 .54
Theory 1 (idealization)
.88 .85 .82 .79
Theory 2* (additional losses)
.81 .80 .78 .76
Measurement with a brake .82 .80 / /
Deceleration method .81 .80 .78 .75
5. Conclusions

In this paper a simple method of measuring the
mechanical and electrical losses in electric
motors was presented. It doesnt require any
special mechanical transmissions, fixtures or
torque sensors, which are essential for
standard measuring devices that are used for
measuring electrical motor performances. The
method is useful to determine the basic
characteristics of electric motors. From the
results of the measurements of induced voltage
during the rotation of the rotor, the torque
constant can be calculated. Further, the
measured ohm losses give a more complete
picture of the motor performances.
The importance of the method is a simple
validation of prototypes and ability to measure
energy losses contributions of various different
origins. When measuring the complete motor
it is difficult to separate those different
contributions and find its origins. An
innovative technology or product also requires
an innovative measurement method.
Further improvements in the method can be
made. Adding tests with flywheels with higher
moment of inertia attached should improve the
accuracy of measurements, as this means the
error in the calculation of the motors moment
of inertia is overshadowed, as well as that the
deceleration takes more time, giving us more
data with the same measuring equipment.
Acceleration tests can also produce starting
points for efficiency and torque constant
calculation, but require more advanced current
and voltage measuring equipment. Again for
better results flywheels should be used.


The authors would like to thank the Slovenian
Research Agency for financial support of the
research project titled The optimisation of a
direct drive system for electric two-wheel
vehicle (L2-9627-0782-06) and Iskra
Avtoelektrika d.d. for cooperation and
financial support of the same project.


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