© 2020 by the authors. Aiming to successfully meet the requirements of a large output torque and a wide range of flux weakening speed expansion in permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) for electric vehicles, a novel surface insert permanent magnet synchronous motor (SIPMSM) is developed. The method of notching auxiliary slots between the magnetic poles in the rotor and unequal thickness magnetic poles is proposed to improve the performance of the motor. By analyzing the magnetic circuit characteristics of the novel SIPMSM, the notching auxiliary slots between the adjacent magnetic poles can affect the q-axis inductance, and the shape of magnetic pole effects the d-axis inductance of the motor. The combined action of the two factors not only weakens the cogging torque, but also improves the flux weakening capability of the motor. In this paper, the response surface methodology (RSM) is used to establish a mathematical model of the relationship between the structural parameters of the motor and the optimization objectives, and the optimal design of the motor is completed by solving the mathematical model. Experimental validation has been conducted to show the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed SIPMSM.