Magna to develop eight times more powerful and cheaper electric motor

The next-generation revolutionary electric motor could come from Canada. A Canadian mobility technology company, Magna International, is working on an electric motor with a significantly higher power density and reduced cost compared to current e-motors.

The aim is to develop an electric motor with a peak output of 125 kW. Compared to currently available electric motors, it should be considerably lighter, smaller and has half the cost and eight times more power density. The price reduction should be achieved by eliminating the use of rare-earth permanent magnets, which make up a significant portion of the electric-motor cost.

Swamy Kotagiri, Chief Technology Officer, Magna explains, “Reducing dependency on rare-earth magnets solves two key issues for accelerating access to electrification – supply chain sourcing and cost.

The new, more powerful, and cost-effective electric motor will be integrated with transmission and inverter as part of an overall e-drive system. The project also includes the development and use of innovative materials, new cooling technologies, winding technologies, simulation models, as well as control and optimization techniques.

Magna also noted in a release that the electric motor would be designed according to automotive standards and low-cost manufacturing using Magna’s comprehensive design framework.

The ambitious project is currently in the research phase and is being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE). Magna International is not quite alone – the project also involves selected U.S. universities, namely the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

We will have to wait for how this will turn out, though not for a long time. By 2021, the research will be presented to the US Department of Energy.


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