The magnetic properties of non–oriented electrical steel (NOES) vary significantly with respect to the microstructure and crystallographic texture of the final steel sheets, which, in turn, are highly dependent upon the thermomechanical processing parameters used during hot rolling, cold rolling and annealing. This paper performs an exploratory performance analysis of NOES for use in high–speed traction motors, emphasizing the importance of obtaining an appropriate crystallographic texture to achieve the desired magnetic properties by controlling the annealing temperature and holding time. A 3.2% Si NOES annealed at 860°C for 24 hours after hot rolling can result in reduced core losses after cold rolling and final annealing. This material was chosen for the performance analysis of a laboratory scale high–speed, high–power traction motor (45 kW, 10,000 rpm) using finite element analysis (FEA). The motor using the NOES is compared to that using a commercially available grain–oriented electrical steel (GOES) to highlight the feasibility and advantages of NOES for high–speed motor applications. In addition, the motor performance using the NOES is compared to that using commercial NOES to understand the scope of improvement obtained by optimizing the microstructure and texture of the steel sheet.