Automotive Engineering - March 2022 - 20

MOTOR MOVES
Premium-EV
startup Lucid
Motors lavished
ingenuity from
several engineering
disciplines to
derive thunderous
performance and
efficiency for its
traction-motor
design.
Lucid Motors
chief engineer
Eric Bach.
BMW's latest e-drive system is aimed at powering
upwards of a half-million electrified vehicles in 2022.
Magna, GKN, Schaeffler, BorgWarner, and American Axle see e-axles
as expanding business for many years, particularly for hybrids.
E-axles also are considered a method to simply and cheaply impart
AWD capability for typically front-drive vehicle architectures.
Design and materials in 'flux'
As the light- and commercial-vehicle EV markets expand into volume, it
seems certain that long-established PM motor designs will be the prevalent
choice - particularly for high-volume or highly price-competitive
vehicle segments. Such was the thinking for GM with its new three-motor
lineup, said Patrick Curran, assistant chief engineer - drive units.
" When we designed the family of motors, we designed it such that
in pretty much any combination, we can do anything in our fleet today.
A lot of [vehicles] that we're not even talking about yet, we're going to
be able to do with these. Think about how many engines and transmissions
we have in the corporation, " he continued. " It's an embarrassingly
large number. We're going to be able to do all that with three
20 March 2022
motor combinations. There are different gear ratios, so
you can get different output torques. But that's how we
can really fine-tune the performance for each of those. "
Schaeffler's Hemphill confirmed that " Permanentmagnet
synchronous [motors] have the momentum
right now, with induction machines sometimes used on
a second driven axle. This seems likely to continue but
could be modified by market forces like magnet prices. "
Curran noted advancing technology will enable " conventional "
permanent-magnet motors to do even more.
" As technology advances, we'll probably be able to bump
up (motor speeds). That's what we've seen in the industry
over the years. We can play with those [gear] ratios. If
your ratio goes up, you get more torque, your ratio goes
down, you get more speed to the wheel. We can do a lot
of things. As technology goes up, the speed is increasing. "
He said each of GM's motors has a different peak
rpm, broadly connected to the mass of the unit. But
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: LUCID MOTORS; LUCID MOTORS; BMW

Automotive Engineering - March 2022

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