Electric Motors

Driving the future of eMobility with technology to support the design, manufacture and quality assurance of electric motors for use in electric and hybrid vehicle powertrains

Compact, lightweight and capable of generating huge torque, electric motors – also known as eMotors – have long-promised to revolutionise commercial and domestic transportation. Scalable enough to operate in all kinds of transportation from bikes and cars to trucks, buses and aircraft, electric motors are the critical differentiating component in the growing markets of mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Public awareness and acceptance of electric motor vehicles has never been higher, but concerns over range, coupled with relatively high prices compared with combustion engine vehicles, has so far limited the adoption of electric motor technology for eMobility. OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers of eDrive motor technologies are therefore investing heavily in developing the electric motor technology and manufacturing processes to meet consumer requirements and enable electric motor vehicles to truly compete with more traditional automotive powertrains.

Electric motors use a magnetic rotor and a stator with integrated hairpins to generate thrust from electrical energy provided by batteries. The rotor transmits the rotary motion to the drivetrain. Usually the rotor is comprised of thin steel laminates that stack together into groups, known as the rotor stack. The stack includes permanent magnets that are press-fitted and pulled into motion by the rotating magnetic field which is created in the stator. The magnetic behaviour and gap dimensions to the stator are the key quality criteria for overall performance. 

The operating principles of electric motors are relatively simple, yet designing and manufacturing electric motors brings a new set of challenges for automotive manufacturers. Electric motors have less mechanical components than combustion engines, but still contain a number of intricate parts like stators, rotors and hairpins that require very accurate production specifications. These parts will need to withstand significant thermal stresses through their lifetime. Design engineers working on electric vehicle motors must also consider new challenges, such as the different noise emissions of the vehicle and how they will impact driver and passenger experience.

Hexagon has extensive automotive industry experience and provides CAE simulation, production and quality assurance technologies to OEMs and the complete supply chain. Our understanding of the dynamics of new vehicle development and manufacturing ramp-up uniquely positions us to support the industry in developing the electric motor to its full potential.