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Three different motor drives for electric traction are compared, in terms of output power and efficiency at the same stack dimensions and inverter size. Induction motor (IM), surface-mounted permanent-magnet (PM) (SPM), and interior PM (IPM) synchronous motor drives are investigated, with reference to a common vehicle specification. The IM is penalized by the cage loss, but it is less expensive and inherently safe in case of inverter unwilled turnoff due to natural de-excitation. The SPM motor has a simple construction and shorter end connections, but it is penalized by eddy-current loss at high speed, has a very limited transient overload power, and has a high uncontrolled generator voltage. The IPM motor shows the better performance compromise, but it might be more complicated to be manufactured. Analytical relationships are first introduced and then validated on three example designs and finite element calculated, accounting for core saturation, harmonic losses, the effects of skewing, and operating temperature. The merits and limitations of the three solutions are quantified comprehensively and summarized by the calculation of the energy consumption over the standard New European Driving Cycle.