Simulation Electrifies Motor Design

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are skyrocketing. Driven by technological improvements in powertrains and batteries, environmental regulation, and shifting consumer demand for greener vehicles, global sales of EVs rose by 40 percent last year. And the electrification revolution is only getting started. This growth trend will continue as the cost of owning electric vehicles declines and approaches the cost of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles sometime within the next decade.


But for engineers of EVs, green doesn’t come easy. In addition to the design of the individual components (motor, inverter, battery, charging system), they must also consider the interplay between these parts and their effect on the entire system. Each of these components involves complex multiphysics. Designers need to model the fluid flow, thermal fields, structural integrity and electromagnetic effects that drive component performance. At the same time, they can’t ignore consumer comfort. No one wants to drive or ride in a car with an overly noisy motor or hot patches in the car’s cabin caused by heat leaking from the motor or battery.

Because of all the interactive physics, optimizing each of the motors’ components does not guarantee optimization of the entire system. Understanding this, EM-motive GmbH — a designer and manufacturer of electric traction motors — scrapped the “classic” component-focused development process in favor of a simulation-based system design workflow. Instead of designing and testing individual parts and then assembling them, EM-motive created a holistic workflow, which evaluates the multiphysics performance of the entire motor, and accounts for dynamic interactions between components throughout the design process.

The company builds its parametric workflows in ANSYS optiSLANG and uses ANSYS tools that readily transfer the results of one type of simulation (electromagnetic, for example) and set them as boundary conditions for other simulations (e.g., mechanical, fluid or thermal). In this way, it can model the behavior of the e-machine as a single whole, and quickly assess the system-wide impact of even seemingly insignificant design updates. This capability is also appreciated by EM-motive’s customization-seeking customers. The e-motor designer can extract performance indicators — torque, speed, power, rotor inertia, etc. — from a variety of design options and, with the help of simple chart, offer its customers an easy-to-grasp comparative analysis of those options.

image of electric vehicles design and workflow

The design workflow for an electric vehicle motor must comprise all
of these internal and external components.

Multiphysics simulation that simultaneously considers all physical aspects involved in a motor is critical for EM-motive to achieve its most important objectives: reduced time-to-market and cost. When coupled with ANSYS’ design automation tools and parametric high-performance computing (HPC) solutions, engineers can focus on engineering the design instead of engineering the simulation.

Learn more about EM-motive’s workflow for optimizing electric vehicle motor design in the current issue of ANSYS Advantage.

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About Sandeep Sovani

Dr. Sandeep Sovani is Director for the global automotive industry at ANSYS. He holds a B.E in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pune, India, M.Tech., from Indian Institute of Technology Chennai, India and Ph.D. from Purdue University, USA. Dr. Sovani has been actively involved in various areas of automotive technology and business for two decades. Dr. Sovani has previously worked with Tata Motors, India. Under a grant from the Cummins Engine Company, he has conducted research on IC Engines at Purdue University and recently served as an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Lawrence Technological University, Michigan, USA. Dr. Sovani has authored more than 40 papers, articles, reports and has delivered numerous invited lectures at academic and industry conferences. He is the recipient of Lloyd Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award from SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers). Dr. Sovani is also the founder of Hybrid Electric Vehicles Michigan group, a professional networking group of HEV engineers, and its sister groups in Brazil and UK. Dr. Sovani presently is member of SAE International and serves as a technical session chair and organizer on the society’s vehicle aerodynamics committee. Dr. Sovani is also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Sigma Xi, MENSA International, and other societies.

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