Yamaha's New 270-HP EV Crate Motor Could Be Perfect For Your Dream EV Swap Project

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Yamaha

Despite what you may have heard, no manufacturer has perfected the EV drivetrain. Yes, companies like Volkswagen, Tesla, Ford, and GM all have EVs for sale right now, but each of them, along with a cadre of others, are still working out how to best build one for you and me. Now, Yamaha wants to disrupt the traditional world order with a “high-performance electric motor” that’s ready for any application. 

Unlike other manufacturers that are content to build drivetrains for themselves, Yamaha doesn’t have a large need for an EV drive unit, mainly manufacturing motorcycles, marine engines, side-by-sides, quads—though there seems to be an EV one floating around—and other small outdoor transportation. It’s engineering team, however, is world-class, which is why Yamaha is offering this drivetrain to other companies. In a statement released by Yamaha, it says that it will begin taking orders “for a high-performance electric motor prototype that is capable of producing the industry-leading high power density for automobiles and other types of vehicles.”

The compact unit, built using a “high-efficiency segment conductor and advanced casting and processing technologies” generates up between 35kW to 200kWs of power from Yamaha’s “Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor.” Yamaha says that the company will customize the motor to the customer’s liking to better fit “the specific needs of individual customers and deliver in short time spans utilizing production technology that the company flexibly adapts to its various product groups.”

Other manufacturers offering similar EV production services to traditional manufacturers has become more common in recent years, too, with Electric GT out of California offering aftermarket enthusiasts EV crate motors to swap into their classics, all the way up to Manga Steyr delivering a working prototype of the Sony Vision-S concept that wowed CES this year. 

But while Magna and Electric GT are cool with just building motors for cars, Yamaha says that its adaptable electric motor will also be available for what it’s best-known for; motorcycles. The company doesn’t get into too many specifics about motorcycle applications, only that it will be available to prospective clients. 

Yamaha hasn’t released how much the company’s services, engineering, or drivetrain components will cost, likely due to how most companies will order in production-scale batches. What it did offer was a short video above of the company using an Alfa Romeo 4C as the test-bed used to validate its engineering. Why Yamaha picked a 4C is anyone’s guess, so please give us your best, or worst, guesses down below.

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