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Efficiency helps to drive US motor sales towards $16bn

07 January, 2015

The US market for electric motors is expanding by an average of 5.4% a year and will reach $16.2bn by 2018, according to a new report from the Freedonia Group. It says that rising demand for more efficient (and more expensive) motor products will boost the market, but that pricing pressure from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), as well as competition from lower-cost imports, will limit the increases.

Demand for AC motors will continue to grow faster than demand for DC motors, with AC sales in 2018 expected to be worth $9.6bn, compared to $6.7bn for DC machines.

Freedonia expects vehicle applications to represent about a third of the gains in the AC motor market, as a result of the rise in hybrid and electric vehicle production. Most of these vehicles are powered by integral horsepower (IHP) AC synchronous motors and, as a result, these motors will be the fastest expanding type. Increased shipments of HVAC equipment and machinery will provide extra growth.

DC motors are also used widely in transport applications and their suppliers will benefit from increases in motor vehicle production, as well as in aerospace and other non-automotive transport applications.

Universal motors, which can run on AC or DC, are widely used in HVAC equipment and machinery, and higher shipments to these sectors will boost their sales. HVAC motor demand will be spurred by increased construction spending, requiring the installation of new systems, while sales of motors for use in machinery will be supported, in part, by replacement demand driven by efficiency mandates.

Electric vehicles such as GM's 2016 Chevrolet Volt model will help to boost US demand for electric motors
Photo: General Motors

Road vehicles are expected to remain the largest market for electric motors in the US in the period to 2018. The gains will be spurred by the growing number of electric motor-dependent systems in vehicles.

Freedonia expects fractional horsepower (FHP) motors – those with a power rating of less than 1hp – to continue to account for a bigger share of the electric motor market, both in terms of value and volume, than larger machines. But demand for IHP motors is expected to grow faster than for FHP motors in both value and volume terms. This growth will be fuelled by increased production of HVAC equipment, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles. 

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