ZF Unveils Compact, Magnet-Free Electric Motor

ZF has introduced a groundbreaking electric motor, termed the I2SM (In-Rotor Inductive-Excited Synchronous Motor), that forgoes the need for magnets. This magnet-free design distinguishes itself through its ultra-compact form factor and high power and torque density. The I2SM technology harnesses an inductive exciter situated within the rotor shaft to generate the necessary magnetic field.

Why It Matters

The development represents a significant advance in electric motor technology. Traditional permanent-magnet synchronous machines (PSMs), currently prevalent in electric vehicles, rely on rare earth materials for their magnets. The I2SM circumvents this requirement, thereby promoting supply chain security and enhancing sustainability. The new technology not only reduces the dependency on rare earth materials but also improves overall efficiency and reduces carbon footprint.

Key Points

  • Sustainability: Eliminates the need for magnets made from rare earth materials, contributing to better sustainability.
  • Efficiency: The I2SM’s inductive exciter reduces energy transmission losses into the rotor by 15% compared to existing separately excited synchronous motors (SESM).
  • Compactness: The innovative rotor design allows for a significantly reduced axial installation space, without sacrificing performance metrics.
  • CO2 Reduction: Potential for up to 50% reduction in CO2 footprint during production compared to PSM motors.
  • Versatility: ZF plans to offer I2SM as part of its e-drive platform, with both 400-volt and 800-volt architecture options for different vehicle applications.

Bottom Line

ZF’s new I2SM technology sets a benchmark for future electric motors by achieving high performance and efficiency while eliminating the need for rare earth materials. With applications in both passenger and commercial vehicles, this development is aligned with ZF’s commitment to creating a more sustainable, efficient, and resource-conserving mobility ecosystem. The company claims to be ahead of the competition in mastering this advanced motor technology, setting a precedent for the industry.


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