In this paper, a novel drive configuration of the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) plug-in HEV (PHEV) is introduced firstly, which has only one electric machine functioning as either a motor or generator at a time. Unlike conventional hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the UTS PHEV should be governed by one special energy management strategy (EMS) particularly in different time intervals, such as the transition from motor to generator. From the system view, the performance analysis of the whole car have been done by the help of PSAT software so as to decide main dimensions for the drive configurations, and brief comparisons are made to the fuel economy and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between traditional HEV and UTS PHEV. After that, for continuous working based the sole machine, more strict requests are put forward to the drive system, mainly including high torque/power density, good thermal dissipation capability, great flux weakening ability for high speed cruising, strong mechanical redundancy capability, etc. As per these tough requirements, qualitative and quantitative comparisons are made on different types of drive machines, especially on those series of stator-mounted permanent magnet machines (SMPMMs), including double salient permanent magnet machine (DSPMM), flux reversal machine (FRM), and flux switching permanent magnet machine (FSPMM). Then one new axially laminated flux switching permanent magnet machine (ALFSPMM) is proposed, which stator and rotor are laminated in parallel to the axis. It can make full usage of PM flux linkage and reduce the core loss particularly in the high excitation frequency. Based on the 2D model prediction by finite element algorithm (FEA), the ALFSPMM has lower cogging torque, higher torque density, greater flux weakening ability, higher efficiency, etc., and hence it can be regarded as one ideal candidate for the UTS PHEV drive system. In order to save time and expense, one prototype with 2 kW has been built up and more detailed experiments will be available in near future. © 2012 IEEE.