The Model Y and Model 3 motors were recently compared against their European and Japanese counterparts. In a recent video, automotive teardown expert Sandy Munro shared his insights about the characteristics of the electric drive modules of the Model Y and Model 3, and their difference from the motors of the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-PACE, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, Chevy Bolt, and Chevy Volt.
Munro noted that in the electric vehicle arena, carmakers are always in pursuit of an electric motor that provides the magic of lowest cost, highest performance, best efficiency, and best utilization of the electric drive modules. The Model 3 was able to achieve this, with the vehicle’s front and rear motors being quite compact, advanced, very powerful, and reasonably priced. The Model Y appears to be the same, if not better.
The brilliance of Tesla’s electric motors could be seen a bit more when they are compared with the drive modules of their counterparts from veteran automakers. The Audi e-tron, for example, is a relatively new electric vehicle, but the rotor of its electronic drive module seems to be pretty old, at least technology-wise. This could be a contributing factor to the e-tron’s poor efficiency, which only gives the large vehicle a range of 204 EPA miles per charge with its nearly 100 kWh battery.
Credit: Munro Live/YouTube
However, it is pretty interesting to see other manufacturers’ take on electric motors, particularly in how they designed their respective laminates. Munro, for one, said that the Nissan Leaf, widely regarded as a conservative EV that is not exciting at all, actually has a pretty interestingly-designed electric drive module. The Leaf’s electric motor is compact and therefore likely lightweight, and its magnets are arranged in a novel manner.
The Jaguar I-PACE is the same way. The I-PACE uses a hairpin design for its electric motors, and its magnets are arranged in a unique manner as well. Munro noted that ultimately, each of the industry’s electric car makers have their own “secret sauce,” which allows them to get maximum performance for their drive modules lowest cost. The veteran noted that this might not be necessarily true for the Chevy Volt hybrid, which uses extremely large hairpins and radius magnets, which are expensive.
As for the Tesla Model 3 and perhaps the Model Y as well, the vehicles’ electric motors seem to feature a great blend of size, efficiency, and power. In the Model 3’s induction motor, for example, Tesla opted to use machined copper for its rotor, which is quite different from the poured aluminum used by Audi in the e-tron. Tesla’s permanent magnet motors are equally cleverly-built. Overall, these allow Tesla to price the Model 3 and Model Y competitively, making the vehicles profitable.
Electric vehicles live or die depending on their electric motors, and so far, it appears that legacy automakers are indeed putting in a lot of effort in presenting an electric drive module design that is as effective as possible. Tesla, for its part, appears to be ahead of the pack by a wide margin. The company appears to have found a golden mean of sorts, with both the Model 3’s induction and permanent magnet motor pretty much ticking off all the boxes that are required to create an industry-leading electric drive module. And that, in a way, is the ultimate secret sauce.
Featured Image Credit: Munro Live/YouTube
About the Author
Ma. Claribelle Deveza
Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.