OSAKA -- Nidec has developed a lightweight motor system for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, positioning itself to take advantage of growing demand for electrified automobiles.
The new system combines a gearbox, an inverter and a motor with a proprietary cooling system, according to Thursday's announcement. Its output of 40kW to 150kW is enough for compact cars, sedans and sport utility vehicles.
A motor system for 130kW weighs 80kg, making it 5kg to 10kg lighter than the competition. The company plans to begin mass production in 2019 in China. Nidec plans to also offer bundles including other automobile components. Pricing has not been set.
Nidec had long counted precision motors for hard-disk drives as its mainline business. But with the saturated market for personal computers, the company has been shifting to motors for appliances and autos.
The Japanese precision motor giant has made parts for commercial electric vehicles through subsidiaries, but the new effort marks a full jump into a core component of electric cars. With both the U.K. and France planning to ban sales of conventional cars in the coming decades, Nidec foresees higher demand for green-vehicle parts.
Also on Thursday, subsidiary Nidec Elesys announced a sensor with applications in accident prevention and automated driving. The device, billed as the smallest of its kind, boasts a 90-degree detection angle and can pick up objects more than 200 meters ahead.