This paper investigates the electromagnetic properties of high-temperature superconductors with a particular focus on the AC loss in coils made from YBCO superconductors. The numerical analysis and finite element modelling of the YBCO superconductors used in Cambridge's superconducting permanent magnet synchronous motor currently in development is described. The stack of tapes in the superconducting coils is modelled using the direct H formulation, a B-dependent critical current density and a bulk approximation. Magnetic boundary conditions for this model are derived from a 2D finite element method (FEM) motor model. The combination of these models allows the total AC loss (combined transport and magnetisation losses) in the HTS coils used in an all-superconducting machine design to be estimated. The raw AC loss figures are compared to the output power of the motor for two test cases, and it is found that the AC loss contributes significantly to the total loss and therefore efficiency. An experimental rig is also described, which has been built in order to test the electromagnetic properties and performance of the motor. It is explained how this rig will be used to investigate the magnetisation of the rotor and carry out AC loss measurements on the stator coils.