Yamaha MOTIV.e city car to use ultra-high-speed Zytek electric drive train


February 24, 2014

The respective presidents of Yamaha Motor and Gordon Murray Design at the launch of the MOTIV.e. That's Hiroyuki Yanagi on the left and Gordon Murray at right.

The respective presidents of Yamaha Motor and Gordon Murray Design at the launch of the MOTIV.e. That's Hiroyuki Yanagi on the left and Gordon Murray at right.

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More details have emerged on the development of the Yamaha MOTIV.e city car concept which was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show last November. The MOTIV.e will be offered with several drivetrains, including an electric version, and EV specialist Zytek will supply a purpose-built ultra-high-speed motor for the project.

The 25 kW Zytek motor spins to 15,000 rpm and comes with advanced thermal management and control integration. The unit has been designed to cut cost, weight and size and this appears to have been achieved as the motor weighs just 13 kg (29 lbs), the gearbox just 11 kg (24 lbs) and the inverter just 7.5 kg (17 lbs).

The Yamaha MOTIV.e emanated from a partnership between Yamaha and Gordon Murray Design, using Murray’s iStream manufacturing technology and what appears to be a close relative of Murray's much-vaunted City Car – billed as an efficient electric vehicle at an affordable price. The car is Yamaha's first step into the automotive industry, and more cars will follow, though the aim is to produce cars of excellent drivability and with an emphasis on Yamaha's reputation for producing outstanding engines.

“Yamaha wanted the vehicle to reflect the company’s reputation for outstanding engines,” according to Zytek Marketing Director Steve Tremble. “Interpreting this in an electric vehicle has driven excellence in performance and driveability, as well as in weight reduction and efficiency, building on the potential of iStream to deliver an agile drivers’ car as well as maximizing the range.”

Zytek will supply Yamaha with the electric motor, Vocis single speed reduction gearbox, and an Electronic Vehicle Control Module (EVCM) which includes thermal management within the decision-making algorithms.

“This is a new generation of EVCM that integrates torque arbitration, temperature control and voltage management to allow better decision making,” Zytek’s engineering program manager, Neil Cheeseman explains. “It optimizes the driver’s torque request based on a broad range of parameters including battery charge and temperature and the grip available at the tires. By integrating these decisions, we can provide more with less to improve both the driving experience and the range while reducing the size, weight and cost of the power electronics and battery pack.”

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

I think those are way cool. Some seemed to be inspired by the Smart Fortwo (a good thing IMO since I like and own a Smart Fortwo). Some are even cooler and would - IMO - appeal to a great audience.

Since they are into building engines, perhaps they could be used in other vehicles? The electric motor seems ideal for the Smart ED, similar in size of one of the vehicle designs.


Wow, what an impressive list of specs, and what an amazing project! Finally, the Tesla bug of thinking outside the box is starting to get around.

I keep reading it over and over again, just look at the vehicle mass, the range, and that torque! Holy! If these guys really can deliver on this, that'll be the the first thing out there that can be called the next step up the ladder to the perfect electric vehicle, the first one being the Model S.


Seems a little optimistic in terms of range (>100 miles) on 7.2kWh of usable battery capacity. THAT means a new "record" in terms of efficiency for sure. It is hard to believe more than even 60 miles range on that small a battery pack.

George Parrott

Looks like a goer! Sacrifice a little speed if necessary by adding a bigger battery pack for more distance, and we're on! My little Daewo Matiz - 4 seater hatchback / 3 cylinders, petrol - will good a long, long way on $40 of petrol ($1. 60+ a litre, still not a full tank), and at 110-120 Km/h, so it is still hard to justify changing 'green' for 'distance'. But it DOES look neat.

The Skud

unless the car weighs less than 500kg or you have one of those motors on each wheel you will be under powered

Gavin Roe

I would prefer it to be front wheel drive, especially seeing as I live where we get more than enough snow to contend with, without having to put extra effort into extricating my car out of the stuff because I can't point the power, so to speak. I suppose they have good reasons for driving the rear wheels, but it would put me off buying one.

Mel Tisdale

Excellent news. Brilliant specs. I notice there is no use of the conditional in this article. It's "will" everywhere. So the questions are: When? And for how much?

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