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Drive Motors

Electric and hybrid vehicles demand efficient, torque and power dense, and low-cost drive motors. Project research encompassed several key areas relating to drive motors including: a review of state of the art traction motor technology, an assessment of vehicle drivetrain architectures, a comparison of typical OEM requirements for traction motors and an investigation into techniques for simplifying the process of selecting a traction motor for a particular vehicle application.

Achievements include:
  • Development of a motor selection tool that evaluates various vehicle performance requirements and other criteria and computes the power and torque requirements for suitable traction motors
  • Design of a searchable database of commercially available traction motors that may be used to compare different manufacturers’ machines satisfying specific criteria
  • A review of OEM, safety and legislative standards specifically relating to traction motors
  • Design, development and manufacture of a concept external rotor starter-generator machine, designed for integration with a small IC engine for vehicle Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) applications
  • Design, development and manufacture of a concept high-power, high-torque traction machine for performance vehicle applications
  • An analysis of traction motor designs used in current hybrid and electric vehicles based on product teardown


Business Impact – New Products and Processes:
The Motor Selection Tool (MST) is already proving valuable to engineers at Jaguar Land Rover, MIRA, Ricardo, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Zytek Automotive. The user is prompted to specify a range of vehicle performance criteria which are then used to compute motor torque and power requirements. As an additional feature, the MST provides links into a large database of commercially-available machines and makes recommendations of suitable ‘best-fit’ off the shelf products. A further benefit is the support for conducting ‘what if’ scenario analyses in order to quickly identify an optimal motor solution for a particular application. This process is usually lengthy and labour intensive, requiring highly skilled personnel. Using the MST therefore provides significant commercial benefits.

Ricardo and Zytek have designed, developed, manufactured and tested an external-rotor starter-generator concept which is intended for use with a production combustion engine to create a compact APU or range extender. The design activity included full integration of the starter-generator with the combustion engine to achieve a compact yet weight-efficient system negating the need for a flexible coupling.



Drive Motors
Lead Partner

Zytek Automotive

Supporting Expertise

Jaguar Land Rover
Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC)