A ”traction motor” is a motor or gearmotor used in a traction application. Golf carts, electric vehicles, locomotives, lift trucks, etc. Often “traction motors” also have mounting features, temperature sensors, wiring terminals that are useful in mounting the motors in a vehicle. They may also have a higher level of environmental protection against dust and moisture.
A “traction motor” can be brush DC (PMDC), brushless DC (electronically commutated), AC induction or whatever else seems to work. Many locomotives today are powered by AC induction motors. Smaller AC induction motors are used in traction applications such as fork lifts and mobility devices.
An AC induction motor will almost always be larger than a brushed DC (PMDC) motor of the same output power. Magnets are the key to making more power available in a smaller package. Brushless DC motors/gearmotors will also be smaller still – because a) the motors contain magnets and b) they have windings on the outside of the motor and can dissipate heat more easily than brush DC (PMDC) motor designs.
Most AC induction “traction motors” appear to be constructed with polyphase (3-phase) windings. This makes sense because 3-phase motors are more efficient than two phase or single phase AC motors. Efficiency (which ultimately relates to battery life) is usually a high concern to designers of products that use traction motors.
Bodine Electric Company can design and manufacture 24VAC, 3-phase induction motors, as well as a wide range of 12-24VDC permanent magnet DC (PMDC) or BLDC (ECM) motors or gearmotors. A low-voltage AC, 3-phase “traction motor” should be optimized for the application’s unique operating conditions, for example, motor laminations can be optimized for the larger wire size needed to handle the higher current.
Copyright Bodine Electric Company © 06/2011. All rights reserved. Contributing author: MJG.