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Traction motor industry faces ‘a very nasty surprise’

17 June, 2013

But IDTechEx adds that in larger EVs, performance is more important than cost, so the high cost of rare-earth magnets is less important. It points out that larger motors also usually need a lot of costly copper as well as control systems. Switched reluctance motors, in particular, can need twice as many power semiconductor devices as standard machines so are not necessarily less expensive.

It predicts that the winners in future traction markets will be chosen on performance rather than price, with fault-tolerance being a desirable characteristic. It points to the examples of Chorus Motors’ asynchronous machines and Protean Electric’s asynchronous in-wheel motors. Another selling factor may be the ability to work efficiently at higher voltages (300–700V) because this will reduce the amount of copper needed and allow the use of thinner, more manageable wiring.

IDTechEx does not expect multi-motor propulsion systems – such as those with a motor in each wheel ­– to be as important as some observers predict. By 2022, it expects that only 2.5% of all electrically-powered vehicles (including those on the water and in the air) will use multiple traction motors, adding that only 5.6% of traction motors will be sold for multi-motor vehicles.

Cars are already the biggest market for traction motors by value
Source: IDTechEx

But, it adds, that the figures could rise to 30% of all electric cars and 40% of military electric vehicles and this market will be big enough to sustain two or three suppliers.

The €3,375 report, Electric Motors for Electric Vehicles 2013-2023: Forecasts, Technologies, Players, has been written by IDTechEx chairman, Dr Peter Harrop who was was previously chief executive of Mars Electronics and director of technology of Plessey Capacitors Scotland.

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