Forget Hot Rods, Yamaha Has an Electric Motor for Hypercars
With the advent of accessible electric crate motors, it’s becoming increasingly easy to turn cars into EVs. And often, the converted cars are faster and easier to live with than before. But it’s not just specialty shops that are getting in on it. We already knew Yamaha was developing an electric crate motor of its own. But recently the Japanese company released a motor that could, in the right hands, make hypercars worry.
Yamaha claims its new electric crate motor has the highest power density in the industry
We first heard about Yamaha’s planned electric crate motor last year. At the time, the company claimed it could produce anywhere from 35-200 kW, or 47-268 hp. And it could slot into anything from a motorcycle to a car, The Drive reports. Yamaha even used an Alfa Romeo 4C as the testbed, Road & Track reports.
As of this writing, the Yamaha electric motor is available in 35-kW and 150-kW forms, Motorcyclist reports. However, it turns out that Yamaha isn’t stopping at this one kind of motor. It turns out the company has another in the pipeline—one that’s even more powerful.
Yamaha calls this new electric crate motor the ‘Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor,’ RideApart reports. And Yamaha claims the oil-cooled IPMSM reaches “the industry’s highest class in output density.” Such a bold claim is backed up by the fact that the electric motor is rated at 350 kW, or 469 hp, InsideEVs reports.
To put that figure in perspective, let’s step back to the Alfa Romeo 4C test mule for a moment. Originally, it had a mid-mounted 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 237 hp.
From the looks of things, it’s about the same size as the original Yamaha electric crate motor, which was already more powerful. And if the IPMSM is roughly the same size, that means the 4C mule is almost twice as powerful as the standard car. Not to mention lighter, in all likelihood.
In short, this new electric motor should deliver on the performance front. But Yamaha isn’t stopping there.
Combine enough of these Yamaha electric motors, and you’ve got hypercar performance
Yamaha designed the IPMSM to be a fully integrated system, Roadshow explains. The motor itself, along with the gearbox, inverter, cooling-related equipment, and so on, are all one assembly, Autoweek reports. Essentially, it’s a plug-and-play motor; and, if you want, you can swap the cooling oil for water.
The integrated nature of the IPMSM should make it easier for boutique automakers and/or DIYers to incorporate into their builds. But it also has another benefit. It means you can easily install multiple Yamaha electric motors onto one chassis, Grassroots Motorsports explains. Yamaha explicitly designed the IPMSM with this in mind, Autoblog reports.
EV hypercars like the Aspark Owl and Rimac C_Two often use multiple electric motors to generate their extreme horsepower and acceleration figures. In the case of the Owl and C_Two, each uses four motors, one per wheel. Applying that logic to the Yamaha IPMSM, that works out to 1877 hp.
To put that figure in perspective, that’s more power than the Koenigsegg Gemera makes. And it has three electric motors along with a 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged three-cylinder FreeValve-equipped engine. Not to mention that it costs several million dollars.
What’s more, Yamaha isn’t just offering this new electric motor to automakers. As with the earlier motor, the IPMSM is designed with motorcycles in mind, too. And as terrifying as the thought of a 469-hp electric motorcycle is, it’s also equally thrilling.
When will it be available?
Yamaha plans to show off its 350-kW electric crate motor at the 2021 Automotive Engineering Exposition in Yokohama, Japan. The event runs from May 26th to May 28th.
As of this writing, the IPMSM is still in the prototype stage. And Yamaha likely won’t offer it directly to consumers. Instead, it plans to offer tailor-made versions of the electric motor to vehicle manufacturers. That’s in line with what Yamaha has done in the past: for example, how it helped Lexus develop the LFA’s V10.
Hopefully, Alfa Romeo takes a page from Yamaha’s book and outfits the 4C with a few of those electric motors.
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