Koenigsegg Quark, Terrier Bring Big Power In Small Package To Electric Cars

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Christian von Koenigsegg is an inveterate tinkerer who has built a business on his ability to squeeze extraordinary amounts of power out of internal combustion engines. Lately, he has turned his talents to electric motors and drivetrains. On January 31, his company announced two breakthrough products that could transform the world of electric cars.

Quark electric motor
Quark electric motor, image courtesy of Koenigsegg

One is the Quark, a compact 3-phase electric motor measuring just 12″ by 13″ x 4.4″ (303 x 334 x 112-mm), that puts out an eye-popping 335 hp (250 kW) and 443 lb-ft (600 NM) of torque for 20 seconds before those numbers drop off. See the accompanying chart. According to Yahoo!, the Quark combines both radial and axial flux constructions to offer a good balance between power and torque. If you are not an electrical engineer and don’t know what those terms mean, here is a helpful article from Charged EVs that explains them.

Quark Specs
Image credit: Koenigsegg

That article says, “Note that there is not a topological continuum between the two constructions, they really are fundamentally different ways of making a motor.” See the illustration below. And yet, Koenigsegg and his chief electric motor engineer Dragos-Mihai Postariu have figured out a way to combine them in a single, ultra-compact unit.

axial flux motor
Image credit: Charged EVs

“The Quark is unique in its high efficiency in combination with its class-leading torque-to-power-to-rpm-to-weight matrix,” says Koenigsegg.

“This means, when using the Quark in applications such as marine, aircraft, or VTOL, there is no need for a step-down transmission. Instead direct drive can be achieved, as the RPM of the motor is right from the get-go. Small high revving motors can have higher peak power-to-weight ratio, but they need transmissions in most applications in order to get to the desired output rpm and torque, causing energy loss and adding weight and complexity to do the same job. So any benefit in size is lost.”

Two Quarks Are Better Than One

If one Quark is good, two Quarks have to be twice as good. But there is more to an electric powertrain than just a motor or two. Often the inverter takes up as much space as the motor and sometimes more. Koenigsegg is not interested in world records. He is interested in making products that car companies will buy — hopefully in large quantities. So the company has created just the thing — two Quarks with a compact 6-phase inverter called David sandwiched between them.

The package is called Terrier (see photo above), because “both the dog breed and the drive unit are characterized by their small, energetic and fearless demeanor,” the company says. Its specs are impressive — 670 hp (500 kW) and 811 lb-ft (1100 NM) in a package that weighs just 187 pounds. Yikes! A V-8 engine and transmission weigh about 500 pounds. Not only that, but power from each motor can be controlled separately to allow torque vectoring across an axle.

The company says,

“The Terrier surpasses today’s drive units, needing only one inverter (instead of two), as David’s 6-phase lends 3 phases to each Quark, thereby drastically reducing weight, size and components. Furthermore, given the Quark’s flat packaging, David can neatly slot between two Quarks to create a square super-dense package. Finally, as the Quarks give massive power and torque at reasonable RPMs, only small low-ratio highly efficient planetary gear sets are needed at each output.

“The compact and unique packaging allows the Terrier to be elasto-bolted to the monocoque or chassis directly – thus allowing for design, engineering and luxury accommodations previously not possible. This trait also potentially cuts away the complexity of added subframes or weight.”

The Path To Better Electric Cars

A high power, ultra-compact powertrain is just what the people designing electric cars are praying for. The less room that needs to be devoted to making the car go, the more room there is for passengers and their stuff. Cars that are smaller on the outside but bigger on the inside have many advantages, not the least of which is reducing the amount of space crowded cities need to devote to automobiles.

Will there be a market for Koenigsegg’s revolutionary electric motors and powertrains? Oh, you betcha. We are willing to bet the phone is ringing off the hook in Ängelholm, Sweden, where the company has its headquarters, as you read this.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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