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Tesla Model S and X to Get More Efficient Electric Motors

Tesla Model S and X goes from AC induction electric motors to permanent magnet motors.

Tesla is upgrading the Model S/X electric motor with a more efficient permanent magnet reluctance system. This idea is based on the motor Tesla developed for Model 3.

A “sales speed bump” for Tesla

Financial report of the company Tesla for the first quarter of 2019 showed that the cars started to sell worse. In particular, we are talking about electric cars Model S and Model X, probably, people have started to prefer the version of the Tesla Model 3, especially after the reduction of its cost. Besides, a cheaper model has more advanced equipment than the previous that also affect the interest of buyers. It seems the company is willing to correct the situation by lifting the vehicle the previous models of electric cars to a higher level.

For many years in cars, Tesla Model S and Model X have used induction motors, which, for all its strengths, has its weaknesses. The car Tesla Model 3, the company began to use electric motors with permanent magnets — the choice fell on them due to the fact that they showed the best ratio of efficiency and high performance.

Tesla’s top motor engineer explains why

Tesla’s principal motor designer, Konstantinos Laskaris, explains the logic behind the move. He said (via Charged):

“It’s well known that permanent magnet machines have the benefit of pre-excitation from the magnets, and therefore you have some efficiency benefit for that. Induction machines have perfect flux regulation and therefore you can optimize your efficiency. Both make sense for variable-speed drive single-gear transmission as the drive units of the cars.

So, as you know, our Model 3 has a permanent magnet machine now. This is because for the specification of the performance and efficiency, the permanent magnet machine better solved our cost minimization function, and it was optimal for the range and performance target.

Quantitatively, the difference is what drives the future of the machine, and it’s a tradeoff between motor cost, range and battery cost that is determining which technology will be used in the future.”

This hardware upgrade could definitely help sales of the two models. It also comes just before a series of new electric vehicles hit the market, and could help Tesla maintain its competitive edge against vehicles like the Audi e-Tron and Porsche Taycan.


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  1. This means we’re gonna have to mine a heck of a lot more neodymium if induction engines are being deprecated. This makes even more sense for smaller cars, where space comes at a premium and weight matters even more.

    I am all for it if mass production can make it more affordable, as permanent magnet engines are more efficient and smaller, regardless of the size of the vehicle. it’s the way to go. Literally.


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