Calgary-based Exro Technologies Inc. is innovating in this area by coming up with new ways to improve performance, efficiency, and longevity of batteries, electric motors, and generators. Its work with coils could revolutionize electric motors forever.
Background and your philosophy
I have had a wonderful career, working across Canada and internationally. I spent over nine years at General Electric, learning the ropes, and eventually became Chief Commercial Officer and then CEO of GE’s Small Industrial Motors Division. I was part of the executive team to sell our Small Industrial Motors Division to one of China’s largest motor manufacturers, Wolong Electric. We did that in 2018, and Wolong asked me to stay on as CEO of their newly formed global business unit GE Industrial Motors division (a Wolong company).
As a CEO, it’s important to have a vision but it’s equally important to have an innovative and experienced team that delivers on the vision. Exro is changing the way the world looks at energy consumption. We are creating our footprint in the power electronics market as we accelerate a new way of optimizing powertrains.
Why you have chosen it as a career
I grew up working at my parents’ industrial motor repair shop, so, motors are part of my DNA.
I went on to build my career in the industry working for some of the top motor manufacturers in the world. Working for GE for over nine years, progressing my career up to the position of CEO of the GE Industrial Motor Division.
The industry needs innovative technology that can support what the market needs as we make transition to more electric vehicles and equipment. That is why I decided to join Exro as the CEO, to bring new innovative technology to market.
Why to choose us?
Today, electric motors-and the systems they are used in, account for about 40% of the electricity we use. So, they are huge in our economy and lives, yet the design and technology have remained largely unchanged for decades. We’re changing that at Exro.
In the mobility space, limitations of the traditional electric motor and power technology available today are not being able to support the segments’ need for torque and speed. This means that manufacturers are compensating by adding additional motors, heavy two-speed gearboxes or oversized motors and gearboxes.
Exro offers a new power electronics solution to system optimization through implementation of the technology which increases drive cycle efficiency, reduces system volume, reduces weight, and expands torque and speed capabilities. Our power electronics technology provides a new brain for motors and batteries.
What a “Coil Driver” is?
Exro’s technology is creating a new category of power electronics. The Coil Driver inverter is a technology that provides two machines in one; one optimized for high-torque and one optimized for high speed. Our technology has created an electric gearbox of sorts. This Coil Driver enables two separate torque profiles within a given motor. The first is calibrated for low speed and high torque, while the second provides extended operation at high speed. The ability to change configuration on the fly, allows efficiency for each operating mode, resulting in overall reduction in energy consumption. The coil driver selects the appropriate configuration in real time so that torque demand and efficiency are optimized. In essence through this technology, Exro allows you to achieve more with less energy consumed.
In our research and development we continue to strive for innovation that supports minimum energy, maximum results. Whatever we’ve learned from our Coil Driver, we have been applying to our battery technology.
We have developed a new battery software management technology called the Intelligent Battery Management System (“IBMS”). Utilizing our battery technology in stationary storage applications, I’m optimistic that we can become a market leader in second life battery technology.
Our IBMS technology applies the principle of managing “energy” as it converts at the individual level to batteries. Essentially, we can optimize many individual cells within a battery to make the entire battery as a whole – perform better and have an extended life. It’s very exciting technology, still under development, but it has great commercial applications.
Exro into the marketplace
Well, we have some very exciting partnerships and collaborations. Our most recent one is with SEA Electric, an Australian company. They are expanding globally and have a NA head office in LA. They are one of the global leaders in the electrification of commercial fleet and municipal vehicles. SEA Electric and Exro are co-developing and testing powertrains based on Exro’s Coil Driver and the SEA-Drive technologies, which are exceptional. SEA Electric was founded in 2012, and they have successfully commercialized their SEA-Drive® electric power-system technology in 5 countries, with collectively more than 1.6 million kms (approximately 1 million miles) of independently OEM tested and in-service operation.
Another company that we are working with is Zero Motorcycles. They are working with us to utilize patented Coil Driver technology in Zero’s SR/S powertrain
platform. This is exciting because Zero Motorcycles is a leading developer of electric-powered motorcycles, which is a rapidly growing market.
I also want to mention Potencia Industrial, Mexico’s global producer of electric motors. They are using Exro’s technology in the new Pronto Power flexible powertrain. The Pronto powertrain is utilized to convert an existing combustion engine to electric. With focus on fleet and municipal vehicles, the Pronto is proven technology that is accelerating LATAM transition to electric vehicles. We’ve already delivered the first stage of that project and pilot tests are going very well.
Sue Ozdemir, CEO
Sue is a distinguished sales executive with over 20 years of expertise in industrial equipment sales. She joined Exro Technologies Inc. in 2019. Prior to Exro, she was the CEO of GE Industrial Motors a Wolong company. She has serveda long stint at GE, where her last role was CEO/CCO of GE Small Industrial Motors.
Exro is entering multiple multi-billion dollar markets, where there is an enormous demand for technologies that help the world move towards greater use of electric motors and their associated systems. Since Exro’s technology improves performance and reduces energy consumption in powertrains, we are obviously attractive to those sectors as a technology that will put more dollars on the bottom
line. But there is also our environmental benefits to consider. Many electric motors are powered by energy sources that create GHGs. So, by helping electric motors use less energy, we are also going to significantly help reduce GHGs, which will be good for the planet and our ecosystems.