How much does it cost to develop a new drive system?

How much does it cost to develop a new drive system?

Known for their efficiency and reliability, direct drive motors provide a host of fantastic benefits. With superior power and performance statistics, they are simpler overall, with fewer moving parts and lower maintenance requirements. The direct drive motor is a popular choice for many of today's electric motor applications.  

What processes are involved with developing a new drive system?

There is a long list of steps that go into the development of a new drive system, which will undoubtedly affect the overall cost. Typically, for most applications, the cycle will look like this:

- An idea
- Concept
- Prototype
- Pre-production sample
- Production
- After-sales
- End of life  

Fisher & Paykel Technologies works with you to help bring your applications to life with comprehensive design, build & manufacture solutions.

Some of the functions that go into the development of a new drive system include the development of hardware (motor and controller), firmware and software, along with integration of these into the final product. There is also development of manufacturing methods, logistics planning, product testing, qualification and compliance, and much more.  

Generally, the standard duration of a development is between 12 - 18 months, however this could be longer or shorter depending on the specifics or uniqueness of the application.  

The duration or effort put into each step in the process will depend on the level of customisation, production volume, samples required for testing, and product complexity. There are also considerations to be made, such as cost pressure and the urgency for launch. Each stage of the development process will obviously require people and resources to complete, so costs will be associated with each step.  

Utilising a separate team or even separate company for each task or component can complicate the procedure, making it more expensive and raising the complexity to manage the project for a good outcome.

Integrating the product development with the manufacturing planning/development adds a huge amount of value to the project and gives advantages for cost and speed of the actual processes and the production cost later.  

Another important aspect is the manufacturing model definition. By choosing high automation the quality inspection needs high automation as well, driving investment up. The more manual assembly of lower quantities requires less investment, but higher skilled staff to ensure the same high quality. Both paths must be planned and executed in such a way to ensure the delivery of high-quality products and services.

In the beginning stages of a project, decisions will need to be made on whether an off-the-shelf solution, or a fully customised version will meet your needs. You can read more about this in our article entitled 'Off-the-shelf vs Cutomised Motors' here>>

The cost (and time) impact of changes increases exponentially over the project's duration. Spending more time at the very beginning, identifying and documenting the exact needs of the user and/or product saves a lot of time and cost later. Aligning the simulation and test procedures for components, software and final product can bring huge improvements and savings, too.

Localising the right tasks is good practice and cost effective. For example, code writing in India, manufacturing and sourcing in China or in the sales market, R&D de-centralised but highly connected.  

Talk to us about your individual requirements and how we can assist you with motor design and manufacture.


If all these steps are put into place and optimised correctly, considerable cost savings can be made. It is still of course dependent on many factors including the size, uniqueness or complexity of the drive system to be developed.


Rob Keating

Rob is a content creator and copywriter for Fisher & Paykel Technologies. His work includes the Knowledge Hub, email, website and social media copy, along with customer communications.
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motor drive system, smart integrated drive systems, motor applications, drive system motor
October 10, 2022
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