Leo Motors CEO Dr. Robert Kang on the Future of Electric Vehicles

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Leo Motors, a parts supply company with its roots in Korea, has an outspoken CEO with an interesting eye for the future and a grasp of where we’ve come from. For instance, after speaking with him it became apparent that Dr. Robert Kang has come to the conclusion that most of the electric vehicle technology we see today is based on technology developed for electric toys combining a simple motor, battery and ampere controller.

I don’t know if this is a fully accurate representation of electric car design, but it’s certainly true that electric cars are relatively simple systems.

To design the parts and technologies that make electric cars go, Leo Motors has employed super computers to manage driving mode and electric power usage. What they don’t use is lithium ion batteries or low level polymer batteries. Critics claim that these style of batteries are easily flammable and potentially explosive in the case of a car crash. What Leo does use is the 12th generation Lithium Polymer cell, called the Ultra Li-Po battery. The company claims that the only competitor to its Ultra Li-Po battery is the engine.

Leo’s motor technology is also different than its competitors. They have developed a multi-motor system and multi-layer motor that allows the car to obtain high power, safety and energy efficiency at very low costs. The technology is known as the Patented Multi Motor System or MMS. With eight patents currently under preparation, Kang explains that the company’s major EV technology breakthroughs are fourfold:

  • Patented Multi Motor System (MMS): Electric vehicles have thus far had a reputation for being low powered and slow compared to combustion vehicles of the same type. This is because larger or faster vehicles require bigger, higher powered motors and higher voltage controllers and batteries that are exponentially more expensive than lower ones. Our MMS solves this problem by using a combination of smaller motors. For example, employing four 15 kw motors instead of one 60kw motor, dramatically improves efficiency, power and safety. Another benefit of our MMS is the dramatic energy saving potential that comes from being able to operate from one low powered motor to four, depending on the driving mode. After accelerating to desired speed, using the increased torque of the MMS, or driving in jammed downtown traffic, the EV can switch to all but one or two small motors to expend the minimal amount of energy needed to maintain cruising speeds. The results are unprecedented: electric vehicles that can accelerate from 0 to 50 in 3 seconds, comparable to luxury sports cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Bugatti.
  • Multi Channel Battery Management System: Leo’s multi channel Battery Management System (BMS) perfectly controls the electricity flow when charging and discharging the battery pack, keeps stable battery temperature by using power off or cooling functions, and maintains the cell balance to prevent the domino cell drop down. Unlike BMS from outside sources, however, Leo has leveraged our expertise in Package Design and Driving Mode Optimization to fully integrate our multi channel BMS with the driving experience.

  • Rechargeable Zinc Air-Fuel Cell Battery (ZAFC): ZAFC rechargeable batteries have approximately twice the energy density then Lithium Polymer Batteries (LIPO), and can be marketed for less then 20% of the cost of a LIPO. ZAFC batteries need only five minutes for a full charge or can be charged with tiny zinc balls like putting gas in the tank, positioning them to become the batter of choice for next-generation automobiles.
  • Multilayer Motors: Leo’s Multilayer Motor has multiple magnetic layers instead of one, so unlike existing motors, it does not lose magnetic power after a sudden power increase, as do existing motors. Leo’s Multilayer Motor can achieve more than twice its original power when extra power is needed. In addition, the Multilayer BLDC has the added capability of electricity regeneration: using the vehicle’s wheels, the motor can regenerate approximately 10% of its expended electricity, leading to longer road life.

Initially, Leo Motors is focusing on heavier vehicles such as buses and trucks in the government and fleet sectors; however their motorcycle and conversion kits are in the pre-production stage. The vehicles will first be sold in Japan and Korea, but Kang has an eye on worldwide distribution.

When asked about the future of Leo Motors, Kang said “Our company’s goal is to become the global leader in the EV market by gaining an initial foothold in the market as a niche supplier, building on a reputation as a technology leader and socially responsible company, and evolving its catalog of products concurrent with the development of the EV market.” He continued, “With GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volvo, and Hyundai all having announced the imminent commercialization of plug-in electric vehicles, Leo is well positioned to achieve its goals.”

 

Joanna Schroeder

Joanna is a writer and consultant specializing in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture issues.