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Magna to develop ‘affordable’ electric motor

Magna has been awarded a grant by the US Department of Energy to develop and “auto-qualify” advanced electric motor technologies for next-generation vehicle propulsion systems.

In partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Wisconsin-Madison, Magna is applying its powertrain, electronics and full-vehicle expertise to deliver an automotive-grade, high-performance electric motor that aims to achieve increased power density and reduced cost compared to current e-motors.

The project objective is to develop an electric motor that is half the cost and eight times the power density, while delivering 125 kW of peak power – similar to packing a gallon of milk into a pint-size container.

The reduction in cost is the result of eliminating the use of rare-earth permanent magnets, which make up a significant portion of electric-motor cost.

Swamy Kotagiri, CTO, Magna, says: “Magna’s mission is to make the impossible possible by solving some of the auto industry’s most complex problems.

“Reducing dependency on rare-earth magnets solves two key issues for accelerating access to electrification – supply chain sourcing and cost.”

The project will integrate the exclusive electric motor technologies with a transmission and inverter as part of an overall e-drive system.

The project scope includes development and use of innovative materials, cooling technologies, winding technologies, simulation models, as well as control and optimization techniques.

Designing for automotive standards and low-cost manufacturing using Magna’s comprehensive design framework is another key element of the project.

The electric motor technologies will be presented to US DoE for evaluation in 2021.

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