Press Release

NSK Develops World's Fastest Ball Bearing for EV Motors (Gen 3)

World's first cage designed with topology optimization and leading edge simulation technology

NSK Ltd. (NSK; Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President & CEO: Akitoshi Ichii) has developed a third generation ultra high speed ball bearing for electric vehicle (EV) motors capable of operating at over 1.8 million dmN*1. The new bearing is the world's fastest grease-lubricated deep groove ball bearing for automotive applications, enabling longer vehicle range and higher energy (fuel) economy. The bearing also facilitates motor and component downsizing for gains in vehicle interior space.

NSK is targeting 12 billion yen in sales by 2030.

*1 dmN: A measure of bearing rotational performance. The product of bearing pitch diameter (dm) in millimeters and rotational speed (N).

World's Fastest Ball Bearing for EV Motors (Gen 3)


Protecting the environment is vital to the continued prosperity of societies around the world. To enhance sustainability, the automotive industry is rapidly moving to help achieve a carbon neutral society by expanding the development and production of electric vehicles, hybrids, and other new energy vehicles. However, maximum range on a single charge remains a concern for consumers.

In light of consumer and environmental demands, automakers are pursuing smaller and lighter automotive components, and developing faster, higher output motors operating at higher efficiencies. Accordingly, bearings used in powertrains, especially in electric motors, are being subjected to increasingly higher speeds and performance demands.

NSK has been engaged in development efforts on an ongoing basis and completed development of the second generation ultra high speed ball bearing (1.4 million dmN) in March 2020. The second generation design featured significant advancements in cage and anti-seizure technology. Today, NSK announced the third generation model aligned with demand for bearings capable of even higher speeds in electric motors for EV.

Product Features

1. World's First Cage Designed with Topology Optimization

Topology optimization contributed to reducing weight to the utmost limit by removing parts that do not contribute to the strength and rigidity of the cage, and to deriving the optimal cage shape for high-speed rotation. The cage was developed with a very short turn around by utilizing leading edge simulation technology to verify performance and production considerations.

2. Proprietary NSK Grease for Superior Seizure Resistance

The bearing is filled with a special NSK grease that reduces churning resistance and heat generated therefrom, prolonging both grease and bearing life as well as reducing the risk of seizure.

3. New High Rigidity Cage Material

The cage is made with a new high rigidity resin material that is more effective at suppressing deformation during high-speed rotation than conventional materials.

The proprietary NSK grease and newly developed cage enables bearing operation at over dmN 1.8 million.

Design steps for new cage
Design steps for new cage

Customer Benefits

NSK's newly developed bearing offers the highest permissible speeds in the world*2 for automotive motors. This enables customers to develop and implement electric motors that operate at significantly higher speeds. Higher motor output contributes to improving fuel economy (reducing power consumption per unit distance), increasing maximum vehicle range, and contributing to enhanced user comfort.

Higher speeds also enable utilization of smaller motors, reducing vehicle weight and increasing space for other components, more battery cells, or a larger vehicle interior.

*2: Based on NSK investigation of grease filled automotive bearings.

About NSK

NSK began its journey manufacturing the first bearings in Japan in 1916, and has since developed into a global organization researching, designing, and manufacturing Motion & Control™ solutions essential for mobility and industrial applications. NSK is the top supplier of bearings in Japan and is the third largest supplier in the world by market share.

Our responsive products and technologies enhance automotive performance and industrial productivity while reducing energy consumption to unprecedented low levels. In the early 1960s, we set our sights outside Japan and have established over 200 business locations in 30 countries alongside a vast network of joint ventures and partnerships in all corners of the world.

NSK Corporate Philosophy

NSK contributes to a safer, smoother society and helps protect the global environment through its innovative technology integrating Motion & Control. As a truly international enterprise, we are working across national boundaries to improve relationships between people throughout the world.