Electric motor technology

traction motor

I’ve heard a basic lecture about the traction motor for electric vehicle yesterday. The lecturer was a researcher of a major automotive company who has been engaged in it for 20 years. The auto company has put the hybrid and electric vehicles on the market, and it has developed several traction motors.


I’ve looked into the electric motor since last year, and had a few opportunities to hear the research results from researchers of OEMs. The electric motor was invented in around 1830, so it has nearly 200-year history. The basic principle is not different despite of several types on the principle of action. IPM (Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor) is generally used for the traction motor of HEVs and BEV because of its effectiveness. A variety of characteristics are required including power, cooling, noise and vibration, durability and so on. Therefore the researchers work hard to optimize the design.


The principle of action is not change. So the components are same as those of other makers’ motors. When I heard another research result at the motor symposium last year, he told us that a slight shape modification could influence the power efficiency and the noise reduction. Or, other case that the improved electric motor for new Nissan Leaf released in last year showed that the power efficiency was likely to be achieved by improvement of the inverter. I wondered what percent the motor contributed to the efficiency.


Many players including electronics makers and major automotive suppliers are seeking the growing market. It is getting the intensified market. For the auto makers, it might be a chance to get cost-competitiveness products. However, it is a risk that they could lose the privilege at the top of the auto industry.