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New energy vehicle core components: global trends in drive motors

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As the global penetration rate of automotive electrification continues to increase, the drive motor industry will usher in a rapid expansion of the overall scale. In this process, third-party motor manufacturers with economies of scale and technological advantages will have the opportunity to rapidly expand their market share and reap substantial growth in performance.

Global Drive Motor Market Trend

According to estimates, with the rapid advancement of global vehicle electrification, the new energy vehicle motor system market will expand rapidly. The market size is expected to grow from $2.3 billion in 2015 to $31.8 billion in 2030.

The new energy vehicle motor system mainly includes two parts: the electric motor and the inverter. Although, like most other auto parts, these two parts are under long-term price pressure, but due to the increase in the total amount of new energy vehicles, the industry as a whole still Great room for growth. We expect that by 2030, the average annual growth rate of the market will be around 18%-20%.

In terms of the unit price of the system, the overall development of the motor system in the direction of high power also brings an increase in the assembly price.

According to estimates, under the neutral assumption, the sales of electric vehicles will reach 20 million units in 2030, accounting for approximately 16%-18% of the total sales of passenger vehicles that year. However, if it is placed in an optimistic scenario, that is, battery prices fall sharply and environmental protection policies are more stringent, the growth rate of electric vehicle sales may rise significantly. It is expected that the total annual sales of new energy vehicles may reach The level of 30 million units accounted for about 25%-27% of car sales that year.

It is estimated that the power demand of single-motor hybrid vehicles is about 30kw, the dual-motor plug-in hybrid power is about 50-100kw, and the motor power of pure electric vehicles is about 200kw.

Motor market situation

We predict that by 2030, the average annual growth rate of electric motor sales will reach 18%, and the overall sales of the industry will reach $19.5 billion by 2030, which is nearly 17 times larger 

than the level of $1.2 billion in 2015.

The sales of electric motors are expected to rise from 3.6 million in 2015 to 49 million in 2030. At the same time, the number of single-vehicle motors is expected to decline, from 1.8 to 1.4, mainly due to the increase in the proportion of single-motor pure electric vehicles.

However, we expect the unit price of electric motors to increase further, from the current $350 to $380, mainly due to the wider application of high-priced high-power motors.

From the perspective of market share, Toyota Group is far ahead in 2016 data, Honda Group ranks second, and at the same time, the two major groups also occupy global leading positions in the hybrid field. Then came BYD and Taiwanese motor manufacturer Tomita Electric which supplied Tesla.

In the long-term development of the motor industry, the rise of third-party suppliers will be the general trend. If we observe the current situation of the Japanese automobile industry industry chain, it is not difficult to find that the top three occupying a leading position tend to be self-powered products. This is not only related to the traditional genes of Japanese manufacturing companies, but also related to the stage of industry development.

If you compare the development history of the PC and mobile phone industries, it is not difficult to find that these two industries are highly integrated upstream and downstream production in the initial stage, whether it is HP, Apple, Silicon Graphics in the PC industry, or Nokia and Motorola in the mobile phone industry. All of them are highly integrated in the industrial chain. Because the initial product update speed is relatively fast, upstream component suppliers need to respond quickly to cooperate with each other, so the integrated production model has a higher cost-effective;

However, in the middle and late stages of the development of the industry, due to the expansion of the entire market, and the speed of product replacement does not need to be as fast as the initial stage, the scale effect of third-party suppliers with the entire market as their customers is reflected, which also gave birth to Foxconn, The rise of a series of third-party suppliers such as Micron and Hynix.

The new energy automobile motor industry is no exception. From the current point of view, Honda has announced that it will cooperate with Hitachi to produce motors. At the same time, Nissan also mentioned at the investor exchange meeting that it may start to source electric motors in the future.

In October 2017, Mitsubishi Electric announced that it will supply motors and inverters for Daimler-Benz. With the popularization of high-efficiency and low-cost products from third-party motor manufacturers, the market share of the motor industry is shifting from self-supplied by OEMs to third-party companies.

At present, Japanese motor companies have successively begun to respond to the changing trends brought about by electrification. We expect that Denso and Aisin Seiki will first take advantage of their existing scale to capture market share at a lower cost, and Denso and Meidensha will follow up quickly.

At present, the average gross profit margin of the motor industry is around 30%, and the scale of production is one of the main factors that determine the gross profit margin.

Inverter industry situation

We predict that the inverter industry will also usher in rapid growth. According to estimates, the sales revenue of the inverter market will rise from $1.2 billion in 2015 to 13.3 billion in 2030.

In terms of sales, because the ratio of inverters to motors is basically 1:1, its total sales are expected to rise from 3.6 million in 2015 to 49 million in 2030.

At the same time, the price of bicycle packages will drop from $300-$400 to $200-$300, mainly due to the cost scale effect after the increase in volume.

Similar to the motor field, the Toyota Group is currently in a leading position in the inverter industry. At the same time, the Toyota Group's Denso Group is currently expanding its inverter customers on a large scale. After Toyota, Mitsubishi Electric also occupies a considerable market share.

Technological evolution

From the perspective of the classification of motors, there are mainly four types of DC, AC induction, permanent magnet synchronous and switched reluctance. The latter three are mainly used in new energy vehicle motors.

At present, permanent magnet synchronous is the mainstream motor type due to its superior performance. The price of AC asynchronous motor is moderate, but the performance is slightly worse, and it is used by some manufacturers in the United States and China. The main advantage of the switched reluctance motor is its lower price, but there are also technical problems of noise and vibration. If these problems can be solved, the switched reluctance motor will have a large market.

AC asynchronous motor: Although from the current point of view, AC asynchronous motor does not have any advantages over permanent magnet synchronous power, but its cost is much lower than that of permanent magnet synchronous motor. In terms of volume, AC asynchronous motors are larger than permanent magnet synchronous motors, mainly due to the limitation of design structure.

Permanent magnet synchronous motor: There is a rotor wrapped with permanent magnets inside the motor. The overall system has a large power and a small volume. The cost is relatively expensive, mainly due to the high price of permanent magnet materials. At present, research on reducing the use of permanent magnets is being carried out, and the research also focuses on improving the output efficiency of the magnets. Permanent magnet motors are currently the most widely used motor type in the electric vehicle motor industry.

Switched reluctance motor: The price of switched reluctance motor is very competitive, mainly because there is no high-cost permanent magnet in the rotor, and its power is moderate. Since the pulling force of the stator and the rotor is used to provide power, the vibration and noise caused in the process are the main problems. As electric vehicle motors are currently in a period of rapid increase in volume, we believe that the increase in demand will speed up technological innovation and substitution.

Motor technology upgrade direction

By studying the technological evolution trend of electric motors in the past 20 years, we have found that there is still a lot of room for continued improvement in motor technology. First look at the thickness of the steel used in the movement. For the stator and rotor, it is mainly composed of thin electromagnetic steel layers. The first-generation Toyota Prius in 1997 used a 0.35mm steel layer, which was then reduced to 0.3mm, and in 2016 it was reduced to 0.25mm. Generally speaking, the increase in the number of thin steel layers can increase the efficiency of the motor and also help control the temperature of the motor.

At present, manufacturing thin steel is a major technical problem in the industry. The main difficulty lies in controlling the rebound in die casting and maintaining the consistency of the steel sheet material. Judging from the current situation, rotary forging processing technology will increasingly become the mainstream manufacturing method in the industry due to its advantages in cost and production efficiency.

Secondly, in terms of winding density, the amount of winding in the stator as a whole is an important factor in determining the power of the motor. The main factor that determines the amount of winding is the number of turns that the copper wire can wind around the movement in a limited space. In terms of technology, the current use of inserters is suitable for high-power stator processing, and has gradually become the industry's standard production trend.

In terms of coil types, there are mainly two types: square and round. At present, mainstream manufacturers use round. However, due to its high space utilization, the square technology is gradually replacing the round as the general direction of the industry. Toyota and Honda currently The square winding technology has been adopted in batches. As for other manufacturers, Yaskawa Electric has begun to develop electronic winding technology to improve control and efficiency.

Finally, in terms of the cooling system, it is divided into two parts: the motor and the inverter: the motor, since the magnetic force of the permanent magnet motor will weaken as the temperature of the motor rises, the efficiency of the cooling system is very important for the high-power operation of the motor.

From the perspective of technological evolution, the mainstream cooling technology has evolved from air-cooling and water-cooling to the current stage of oil-cooling. The main technical means is to immerse the motor in the oil cooling chamber to achieve the purpose of cooling. Although some experts believe that friction with oil will reduce the efficiency of the motor, but in all aspects, oil cooling is still the most effective cooling mode under current technical conditions.

In terms of inverters, the cooling system is also important for the performance of the inverter. Nissan recently claimed that in the new Lefeng 2017 model, the output power of the motor will be increased from 80kw to 110kw by improving the inverter cooling system. The parts are the same as the previous generation.

This reflects the importance of the inverter cooling system. Although the use of silicon carbide will improve the heat resistance and pressure resistance of the motor, its high cost and the time point for its large-scale application may be difficult to come in a short time.