New 125 kW electric motor to be eight times smaller and half as expensive as currently available permanent magnet motors.

Magna, together with the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S. Department of Energy, has started a new EV electric motor project.

The objective is to develop and ‘auto-qualify’ an automotive-grade, non-permanent magnet electric motor for next-generation vehicles, which would offer higher power density at a lower cost.

The targets are really impressive, as the project envisions a 125 kW (peak) motor with:

  • eight times the power density
  • half the cost

However, the press release does not provide us the base "of currently available e-motors" for relative targets. The new drive unit will be ready in 2021.

"The project objective is to develop an electric motor that is half the cost and eight times the power density, while delivering 125 kW of peak power – similar to packing a gallon of milk into a pint-size container. The reduction in cost is the result of eliminating the use of rare-earth permanent magnets, which make up a significant portion of electric-motor cost."

"The project will integrate the exclusive electric motor technologies with a transmission and inverter as part of an overall e-drive system. The project scope includes development and use of innovative materials, cooling technologies, winding technologies, simulation models, as well as control and optimization techniques. Designing for automotive standards and low-cost manufacturing using Magna’s comprehensive design framework is another key element of the project. The electric motor technologies will be presented to U.S. DOE for evaluation in 2021."

Swamy Kotagiri, Chief Technology Officer, Magna said:

“Magna’s mission is to make the impossible possible by solving some of the auto industry’s most complex problems. Reducing dependency on rare-earth magnets solves two key issues for accelerating access to electrification – supply chain sourcing and cost.”