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Why the cost of running an electric motor is as important as a car’s mpg

Motorists across the UK received an early Christmas present this month as petrol prices dipped below £1 per litre for the first time in over six years. This welcome boost for drivers made us consider the interest many motorists have in the miles per gallon (mpg) being achieved by their car. With careful braking and smooth gear changes, drivers of many modern cars are rewarded by the sight of their mpg rising via their dashboard display.

Compare this to an electric motor-driven application such as a fan, conveyor, pump or mixer – are users as concerned about the efficiency of their equipment? If not, then they certainly should be. Let’s look at some figures:

A £20,000 car that travels 10,000 miles per year, achieving 50 mpg, will consume £908 in fuel (assuming a cost of £1 per litre) over a 12-month period. This equates to just 4.5 per cent of the original equipment cost.

Meanwhile, a 45 kW electric motor costing £1,700 with 94.1% efficiency, running for 6,000 hours per year, will cost £105,273 in electricity every 12 months. That’s a massive 6,192 per cent of the (more than 60 times) the purchase price.

It’s clear that electric motor users have a lot more to be concerned about than drivers when it comes to the cost of running their equipment. That’s why it’s so surprising how many motor-powered processes are run inefficiently, with outdated control methods such as throttling used.

Adding a variable-speed drive to a motor-driven application can reduce energy consumption by as much as 60 per cent. The innovative device, which allows users to accurately control motor speed to match the changing demands of the application, could pay for itself within 12 months in many cases.

Gibbons is an Authorized Value Provider for ABB drives, meaning we have access to a vast range of products and expertise to help clients reduce energy usage and save money no matter what their application. For more information, call Alan Roberts on 07966 468430 or email

Variable-Speed Drives, Electric Motors

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