Fort Worth-based, father-and-son-led Linear Labs has closed a $4.5 million seed round in support of its revolutionary next-gen electric motor that’s said to be more powerful and efficient than conventional electric motors.
The funding will be used to market the motor, called the Hunstable Electric Turbine (HET), across the electric vehicle industry as well as the micro-mobility (scooters), robotics, wind turbine, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning industries.
The funding round was led by Science Inc. and Kindred Ventures, with participation from numerous investors: Chris and Crystal Sacca, Ryan Graves of Saltwater Ventures, Dynamic Signal CEO Russ Fradin, Masergy Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Chris McFarland, and Ustream co-founder Dr. Gyula Feher.
“This investment showcases the confidence these tech luminaries have in Linear Labs as we go to market with the first major innovation in electric motors in 120 years,” Linear Labs CEO Brad Hunstable said in a statement. “Automotive manufacturers are already looking at HET technology as the solution to size, weight and range constraints. With 45 percent of worldwide electricity consumption passing through an electric motor, the number of industries this technology could impact are endless.”
Linear Labs’ investors wooed by motors’ potential impact
The investors saw the potential in the HET; Science Inc. co-founder Peter Pham said the applications can impact nearly everything taxing any global needs.
“The holy grail in electric motors has always been high torque and no gearbox, and the HET achieves both in a smaller, lighter, and more-efficient package that is more powerful than traditional motors.”
“The Linear Labs HET motor has variable speed and twice the torque while using less voltage, which means it can help electric cars have better range and reduced productions costs, power electric scooters to go up hills and have longer battery life, and switch ACs to single stage motors that shut on and off to hold a temperature,” Pham said. “We’re excited to see what they accomplish next.”
The HET was invented by Brad Hunstable and his father, Fred, while they were working to design a device that could pump clean water and provide power for small communities in underdeveloped regions of the world.
A score of discoveries in that endeavor became a revolutionary new electric motor.
“The holy grail in electric motors has always been high torque and no gearbox, and the HET achieves both in a smaller, lighter, and more-efficient package that is more powerful than traditional motors,” Fred Hunstable, who is Linear Labs’ CTO, said in a statement.
Creating a new class of electric motors
Linear Labs, founded in 2014 by the Hunstables, said the HET is an entirely new class of motor, as it uses multiple rotors in ways that haven’t ever been devised, and that have the ability to adapt to various conditions while in motion. In comparison to the top permanent magnet motor on the market, the HET produces two times the torque density, three times the power density, two times the output per motor size, and a minimum 10 percent more range.
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The HET is ideally designed for mobility applications to include electric vehicles, offering unprecedented levels of torque that remove the need for a gearbox. This results in a reduction of manufacturers’ production costs, and increases the efficiency throughout the speed range.
Currently, Linear Labs has filed 50 patents, with 21 already issued and 29 pending.
“This is a major accomplishment by an electric motor which supersedes other commercially available electric propulsion units,” motor expert Dr. Babak Fahimi, founding director of the Renewable Energy and Vehicular Technology (REVT) Laboratory at UTD, said in a statement. “I strongly believe that the deployment and commercialization of the HET will result in substantial leaps in terms of energy savings, reliability enhancement, and low-cost manufacturing.”
The Hunstables have entrepreneurial, tech, and engineering backgrounds
Brad Hunstable is the former CEO and founder of Ustream, a pioneering live-video streaming service that sold for $150 million to IBM back in 2016. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at Westpoint and has an MBA in finance and real estate from Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
Fred Hunstable is an expert in electrical engineering and nuclear power who led Ebasco and Walker Engineering’s efforts in designing, upgrading, and completing electrical infrastructure, environmental, and enterprise projects. He also has experience in safety and commercial grade evaluation programs.
Linear Labs has made recent additions to its leadership team, including President John Curry, who came from KLA-Tencor and NanoPhotonics, and Vice President Jon Hurry, who has experience working with Tesla, General Motors, Lucid Motors, and Faraday Future.
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