Once seen as relatively simple commodity components that could power a forklift as well as a supercar, electric motors are increasingly becoming a differentiator, with a range of technologies for different applications.
Tesla has touted the powertrain of its Model S Plaid, which uses three motors -- one in the front, two in the rear -- featuring carbon-sleeved rotors to achieve a maximum output of 1,020 hp, a top speed of 200 mph (322 kph) and a 0-60 mph time of 1.99 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz, like Tesla, is promoting its in-house electric motors as a key selling point.
"The electric motor is not a commodity," Mercedes said last year at its EV strategy presentation. "It's a fast-developing technology where innovation and expertise will drive performance and differentiation."
Its AMG brand will use cutting-edge axial-flux motors, built in-house, in its coming AMG.ea EV architecture. "The era of the ultra high performance electric motor is here," said Markus Schäfer, board member responsible for R&D.
BMW -- with the word "motor" in its name -- sees electric motors as crucial to preserving its brand identity in the transition to electrification.
"Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works) always stood for the best drivetrains in the market," a spokesman told Automotive News Europe. "Our clear goal is to carry this over to the era of partially and fully electric drivetrains."
To that end, BMW has designated higher-performance versions of its new EVs with the "M" label, just as with combustion models. "The electric motor does make a significant difference for the customer experience," the spokesman said.