This year, automotive supplier ZF reached the milestone of two million electric motors produced.
To keep pace with the global increase in demand for EVs, the company has been continuously accelerating production at its lead plant in Schweinfurt, Germany. It has also commissioned major production lines in Serbia and China. Another plant in North America will go into operation in 2023.
Recently the company has begun focusing on a new technology: hairpin winding, which enables wires to be packed tighter together, resulting in increased power, speed and torque while using the same amount of space.
And according to ZF, there is even more innovation potential for electric motors. For example, sophisticated cooling solutions: “Currently we are developing a solution with oil flowing past—to directly cool the copper wire, which is the main heat source in electric motors,” explains VP Roland Hintringer. The company also develops electric motors with magnets that are almost free of heavy rare earth metals. Another potential future technology: separately excited electric motors that don’t need any magnets at all.
In view of globally increasing volume and the high demand for electric powertrain technology, ZF expects that the next production milestone will be reached soon. “Our order books are well filled,” says Hintringer. “The next two million units of electric motors will probably be produced in less than two years.”