Leading motor manufacturer Nidec Corporation will form a joint venture with GAC Components Co., Ltd., a member of China-based Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. to manufacture automotive traction motors. The tentative name of the JV is Guangzhou Nidec Auto Drive System Co., Ltd.
Nidec will hold 51%, and GAC Components will hold 49% initially.
Nidec’s fully integrated automotive traction motor system E-Axle (announced in April 2018).
Nidec has been expanding and strengthening its automotive motor business (earlier post), one of the company’s strategically critical businesses, by setting the business’ target sales amount to 700 billion to one trillion yen (US$6.5 billion to US$9.3 billion) under Vision 2020, the company’s mid-term strategic goal.
As the trend of car electrification intensifies, the automotive motor market, strategically important for Nidec, is forecast to double its size to six trillion yen (US$55.9 billion) in 2030. Among all the products in the market, companies’ attention and Nidec’s particular focus are on the traction motor, one of the most important components to replace the existing internal-combustion engine.
GAC Components is a subsidiary of major Chinese car manufacturer Guangzhou Automobile Group with the sixth-largest market share in the increasingly environmentally strict China. GAC Components mainly manufactures automobile interior parts, electric components, etc. for not only the EVs and PHEVs under the Guangzhou Automobile brand, which plays a significant role in the transition to EVs, but also for joint ventures with Japanese car manufacturers.
GAC Components and Nidec, realizing the strategic importance of traction motors in the future automobile industry, have agreed to collaborate to produce low-cost, high-efficiency traction motors for Guangzhou Automobile Group.
The joint venture company will exploit Guangzhou Automobile Group’s collective know-how on finished vehicles mechanism and Nidec’s drive and electronics technologies to develop, manufacture, and sell low-cost, high-efficiency traction motors mainly for Guangzhou Automobile Group, and later, other car manufacturers as well.
The joint venture company will hire development engineers locally in China, which is abundant in such resources, to accelerate the pace of product development and design, while utilizing Guangzhou Automobile Group’s local purchasing capabilities to promote cost reduction.
Nidec in-wheel motor. In May, Nidec presented a prototype of a new addition to its lineup of motors powering electric vehicles: a traction motor designed to be fitted inside the wheel hubs.
Nidec’s new in-wheel traction motor developed based on the company’s E-Axle product line.
The prototype consists of a motor with integrated reduction gears and an oil cooling system. By leveraging the technology developed for the E-Axle, a single in-wheel motor can achieve a power output of more than 100 kW (135 PS)—equivalent to a 1,800 cc class gasoline engine—while weighing only 32 kg and being compact enough to fit inside a 20" wheel. The motor is compatible with all of the common car layouts: RWD, FWD and 4WD. The company aims to start mass-producing the motor around 2023.