BMW backs German startup to deliver ‘next generation’ EV engines

BMW has invested in this Deep diskthe German startup behind a new type of “ultra-efficient” motor for electric vehicles.

The €15m Series A funding round also saw participation from the likes UVC Partners, the Continental Corporate Venture Capital Unit, and former board member and CTO of Audi and Volvo, Peter Mertens.

Founded in 2021, the Munich-based startup has developed a twin-rotor radial flux motor that boasts the highest torque and power density of any EV motor currently available, the startup claims. It also has low noise emissions and is built with far fewer rare earth materials.

All this translates into an electric motor that is fast, quiet and super efficient. In addition, the motor and associated power electronics can be installed in either wheel hub And the central drive of an electric car. Why is that important? First, it means that the motor can be installed in a wide variety of electric car types. Second, an electric car with four ultra-efficient motors, one in each wheel, would be insanely fast, but silent as a mouse.

DeepDrive refined its technology at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany and is now ready to go commercial. Credit: BMW

But the real selling point is more modest: The DeepDrive drive unit results in a car that travels 20% further and requires 20% smaller batteries than its predecessor. competitors. That may not sound like much, but this increase in efficiency can lead to serious cost savings over the lifecycle of an EV, and automakers seem to agree.

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Marcus Behrendt, Managing Director at BMW i Ventures, said he believes the engines offer major advantages in terms of weight, cost and space, enabling the “next generation of ultra-efficient and resource-saving electric vehicles”.

DeepDrive’s founding team first met at TUfast, the student motorsport team of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Since then, they have developed the technology, applied for patents, built the first prototypes of the drive and validated its function at the Fraunhofer Institute. Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation.

Now armed with fresh capital, DeepDrive plans to begin production of the twin rotors and expand its team. The company says it is already in talks with eight of the world’s top 10 automakers and aims to begin series production in 2026.

Co-founder and CEO of DeepDrive, Felix Pörnbacher, said he believes the demand for their twin-rotor technology shows they are “on the right track.”

In Europe, electric cars (including hybrids) accounted for 35% of all new vehicles sale in 2022, up from 10% in 2020. However, EVs are still expensive to manufacture and the limited range of many models remains a stumbling block for manufacturers. This is driving ask for engines that are smaller, lighter and more powerful, which is good news for DeepDrive.

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