In April 2019, Nidec began mass-production of E-Axle, an EV traction motor system that combines a motor, a gear, and an inverter. Since then, more than 520,000 units have been produced, for a growing number of customers in China and other countries that have adopted the technology into their vehicles, with 13 models equipped with E-Axles as of 30th September 30, 2022.
Nidec aims to acquire 40-44% of the global share of the EV drive motor market by 2030. To further its goal, Nidec is now producing an updated version of its E-Axle, the Gen.2, at its facility in Guangzhou, China, which the company says is lighter weight and quieter than its predecessor, as a result of developments in magnetic circuit design, oil cooling, and other technology factors.
Compared with the first-generation 100kW E-Axle, but the Gen.2 is 19% lighter in weight with 20% more torque and power density, due to the use of smaller magnetic circuits and inverters based on updated high-space-factor wire-winding technology. Motor noise is reduced by 6-8dB compared, thanks to optimised component allocation and newly designed gears, among other factors.
The Gen.2 also uses magnets that require smaller amounts of dysprosium (Dy), terbium (Tb), and other kinds of heavy rare earth thanks to the improved cooling capability of the newly developed two-way oil-circulation system. The better cooling capabilities of Gen.2 can decrease the temperature of the magnets, thus reducing the required amounts of dysprosium and terbium. Nidec intends to gradually replace the magnets with versions free of heavy rare earth.
The 100kW model of E-Axle Gen.2 is now in mass production, and the 200kW, 150kW and other Gen.1 models will be gradually replaced by Gen.2 versions.
E-Axle Gen.2 specifications (100kW)
● Peak output: 100kW@350V, 20s ● Rated output: 38kW ● Peak torque of the output shaft: 2,400Nm
● Maximum rpm of the output shaft: 1,250rpm ● Weight: 57kg ● Operating voltage: 300 – 460V
● External size (mm): 432.8 x 408.3 x 351.3