The design of electric traction motors is a complex task since high-performance requirements must be met in terms of power and torque densities in the wide operation speed range, including volume and mass restrictions. Since the launch of the GM EV, in 1996, electrification has been increasing and hybrid and electric vehicle traction motors have incorporated constant improvements and very innovative designs. This paper reports on motor specifications of 16 of the most representative commercial hybrid and electric vehicles, additionally, presents a comparison of their special design features and performance. Although there are plenty of technical publications on electric traction motors and some of the commercial motors presented herein are very well known in detailed, the authors develop and present a finite element method and Ansys® Electronics Suite comparison, which is based on efficiency maps. The results show the chronological evolution of different mechanical configurations that have successfully been arranged to improve the performance of traction motors over the years. The main conclusion is that the geometry of the magnetic circuit is one of the most important characteristics and that high optimized designs are needed.

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