Washington’s Advanced Electric Machines raises £23m

Advanced Electric Machines CEO James Widmer

Washington, Tyne and Wear-based spin out firm Advanced Electric Machines (AEM) said it has raised £23 million to scale up production of its electric vehicle motors that contain no rare earths or copper, so are entirely recyclable.

AEM is a developer of sustainable motor manufacturing, primarily for the automotive industry.

The funding will be used to scale up production capacity at its facility in the North East of England, deliver on its ambitious growth plans to establish a global sales footprint, and bolster R&D capabilities.

The Series A funding round was led by Legal & General Capital and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital with significant additional investment from Par Equity.

Other investors included Northstar Ventures, the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 and Turquoise Capital LLP.

Advanced Electric Machines Limited was founded in 2017 when it was spun out from Newcastle University’s electric motor research team, led by AEM’s CEO, Dr James Widmer, and CTO Dr Andy Steven.

“AEM’s motor technologies remove the need for polluting rare earth metals in electric vehicle (EV) motors, the production and processing of which is concentrated in China,” said AEM.

“By eliminating rare earth permanent magnets, costs as well as reliance on geographically concentrated supply
chains are reduced, and recyclability and environmental footprint of the motor is significantly improved.

“AEM’s advanced technology will enable leading passenger and commercial electric vehicle manufacturers to reduce their environmental impact and dependence on critical supply chains, without compromising on quality and performance.

“Historically, engineers have struggled to match the performance of rare earth permanent magnet motors when attempting to develop alternatives.

“AEM’s technology overcomes these challenges, while reducing the environmental impact.”

Prof. James Widmer, CEO and co-founder of Advanced Electric Machines, said: “Today’s funding announcement clears our path to sustainable growth for years to come. It is a vote of confidence from the market in our vision, our technical capabilities and our mission to rid EV motors of harmful and problematic materials.

“Everyone at AEM and our new partners are excited for the role we are now able to play in making the electric vehicle sector truly sustainable.”

John Bromley, Managing Director – Clean Energy Strategy & Investments at Legal and General Capital, said: “Legal & General Capital invests in innovative businesses with the potential to accelerate progress to a low-carbon economy.

“AEM’s technology provides a sustainable, market-leading solution capable of eliminating the need for rare earth materials, thereby reducing emissions and supply chain risk. The UK has a long and successful history in
cutting edge automotive technologies and by co-leading this investment, we are supporting AEM to fulfil its potential to create skilled jobs and generate global export revenues.”

Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments, Barclays, who will join the board of AEM, said: “AEM is solving a fundamental constraint of the EV market – the reliance on rare earth metals for motors – which causes significant cost and supply chain challenges.

“By producing motors that don’t rely on these metals, AEM is able to remove the key barriers to the production and subsequent adoption of EVs. We are excited to be supporting AEM on the next stage of its journey as it
expands into passenger vehicles, a growing market critical to the energy transition.”

Andrew Noble, Partner at Par Equity, said: “AEM has designed and built an electric powertrain motor which is greener, faster and more efficient than the incumbent solutions, resulting in significant market pull and potential for growth.

“It has all the ingredients of the type of business Par Equity likes to back, and we’re excited to partner with AEM at this critical stage as the company scales its team and capabilities to service a large and rapidly growing EV market.”