Yamaha has a long and successful history of building world class internal combustion engines. It is particularly known for its skill at building highly efficient cylinder heads. It was tapped by Ford Motor Company to help develop the engines for its Taurus SHO (super high output) models and also collaborated with Mercury Marine to create that company’s first 4 stroke outboard engines.
But improving internal combustion engines is a dying art. As the EV revolution pushes forward, Yamaha has turned its attention to designing and building high output electric motors that are as small and light as possible. It will soon offer a range of motors with 35 kW to 200 kW of power. The smaller motors are intended for use in motorcycles, but the more powerful motors are suitable for automotive applications. Yamaha says it can adapt the design of its interior permanent magnet synchronous motors to fit the needs of virtually every vehicle manufacturer.
In a press release earlier this year, Yamaha said it “will customize the prototype to the specific needs of individual customers and deliver in short time spans utilizing production technology that the company flexibly adapts to its various product groups, including motorcycles. Going forward, Yamaha expects to deepen its knowledge of evolving market needs by adapting the motor to the requirements of individual customers.” The company claims its expertise with “advanced casting and processing technologies that Yamaha has cultivated over many years” is critical to its new initiative.
According to motorcycle news source Ride Apart, Yamaha’s plan is that a vehicle manufacturer can come to it, tell it what it needs by way of motive power for an electric vehicle, and Yamaha will build it to meet the customer’s exact requirements within a short period of time. That could save some carmakers valuable time and money developing their own motors, especially if they are coming late to the EV party.
While this should be good news, it suggests a move within the industry to depend more and more on outside suppliers for batteries, battery packs, battery management systems, motors, axles, and the other bits needed to make electric cars. Some companies say they don’t want to just become parts assemblers, but in the end, that may be the trend. Most customers don’t know or care whose electric motor is buried deep in the chassis of their electric car. All they care about is that when they push the go pedal, things begin to happen right now!
Some bemoan the absence of a powerful exhaust note in electric cars, but the sounds coming from the Yamaha electric motor in the video below are enough to stir the soul of any automotive enthusiast. Give a listen.