Automotive applications drive demand for DC brushless motors, IMS Research says

April 26, 2013 // By Julien Happich
Automotive systems are becoming increasingly electrically-driven and electric motor manufacturers are benefiting. According to IMS Research, DC brushless motor shipments will outpace shipments of DC brushed and stepper motors used in automotive applications from 2012 to 2017.

DC brushless motor shipments are expected to increase by 52 percent over the same timeframe to reach more than 462 million units.

Powertrain and chassis applications in cars have the highest usage rates for DC brushless motors. The predominantly mechanically-driven applications such as power steering, transmission actuation and engine cooling systems are becoming increasingly electrically-driven, causing the number of DC brushless motors used in these applications to increase proportionately. DC brushless motors offer longevity and power density, qualities that are essential for use in powertrain and chassis applications where there is limited space and frequent motor operation is required.

“Although brushed DC motors account for a majority of the motors used in automotive applications, there is relatively less growth potential for brushed DC motor shipments,“ said Bryan Turnbough, small motors analyst at IMS Research. “On the other hand, DC brushless motors are being used in areas that are relatively new for electric motors in automotive applications, and that have been growing rapidly in recent years. Increasing sales of plug-in electric vehicles, which have powertrain and chassis systems that are electromechanically-driven, are expected to provide greater growth potential for brushless DC motor shipments than for brushed DC motors.”

Brushed DC motor shipment growth is also expected to be substantial through 2017, with shipments projected to increase by 30 percent from 2012 levels. Replacement of brushed DC motors with DC brushless motors in automotive applications is projected to have a minimal impact on the increase in DC brushless shipment growth according to the 2013 edition of the Electric Motors in Automotive Applications market study, which published in March. The growth for both brushed DC and brushless DC motors is predominantly driven by the increasing number of cars that utilize higher quantities of motors.

“Brushed DC motor suppliers also benefit from the increased usage of motors in the automotive industry as a whole,” said Turnbough. “However, selling motors for powertrain and chassis applications