Discussions about the optimal technology of propulsion systems for future ground vehicles have been raising over the last few years. Several options include different types of technologies. However, those who are advocating conventional internal combustion engines are faced with the fact that fossil fuels are limited. Others favor hydrogen fuel as the solution for the future, either in combination with combustion engines or as an energy carrier for fuel cells. In any case, the production and storage of hydrogen is an ongoing challenge of numerous research works. Finally, there are battery-electric or hybrid propulsion systems in use, gaining more and more popularity worldwide.Ongoing advances in power electronics help to improve control systems within automotive applications. New developed or designed components enable more efficient system architectures and control. This paper includes a detailed comparison of different electric drive technologies, e.g. a DC motor, an asynchronous and synchronous motor in battery-electric or hybrid drivetrain configurations. Parameters for future drive architectures, such as high torque and power output, high system efficiency, low mass, low energy consumption, very low exhaust gas emissions, and low costs are introduced and discussed. Advantages and disadvantages of different drivetrain configurations are specified, evaluated, and discussed. Additionally, a selection of advances in power electronics is listed and described in detail. Practical examples of electric drive systems are given explicitly and conclusions for future development are made. The publication closes with an overview of current components in use and presents an outlook to future trends.