Steve April 13, 2021

Yamaha Motors has just unveiled a new oil-cooled electric motor with claimed industry-leading power density.

Despite Yamaha Motors being better known for its motorcycle development, the company has played an increasingly prominent role in the development of motors for both electric motorcycles and electric cars.

Late last year Yamaha showed off new electric motor systems ranging from 35 kW (47 hp) to 150 kW (200 hp).

The smaller motors were designed for electric motorcycles, while the larger output motors were capable of powering electric cars.

Now Yamaha is adding electric hypercar manufacturers to its growing list of potential customers.

The company’s latest innovation is a 350 kW (469 hp) electric drivetrain.

Instead of developing the components of the drivetrain separately, Yamaha integrated the mechanical and electrical components into one unit. The motor, gearbox, and electronic speed controller are all housed in the same assembly, resulting in Yamaha reaching what it calls “the industry’s highest class in output density.”

While a single unit would certainly provide more than enough power for one car, Yamaha envisions multiple units powering a single vehicle.

Unlike gas-powered vehicles, electric vehicles can easily incorporate two or more motors into their drivetrains, easily boosting overall power output.

Just two of these new Yamaha motors would provide an electric hypercar with 700 kW (938 hp) of power. Three units would offer a tire-shredding 1,050 kW (1,408 hp).

Yamaha even showed off an example of a skateboard chassis that could easily incorporate four of these motors for an all-wheel-drive vehicle with total output of 1,400 kW (1,877 hp).

Yamaha is already taking pre-orders for the new motor system and explained that it will leverage its existing production resources and experience to develop more electric drivetrains based on clients’ custom requirements.

“Regarding commissioned prototype development, Yamaha will leverage its production technology and know-how in the casting, machining and assembly fields that give the company the flexibility to adapt to the needs of motorcycles and its numerous other products, its prototyping equipment and facilities and more in order to develop prototype motors tailoring to the specific requirements of clients in a short period.”

Despite Yamaha’s apparent progress in electric vehicle drivetrain development, the company has noticeably lagged behind in the key two-wheeled EV industry.

Yamaha has patented several designs for electric motorcycles and has continued to make slow progress on electric scooters, but has otherwise failed to produce any electric motorcycles to compliment the company’s current high-performance, gas-powered motorcycles.

Yamaha’s electric bicycle division, on the other hand, has remained a strong player in the e-bike industry, developing its own mid-drive electric motors and producing a wide range of popular electric bicycles.

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