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If technic then there are more motor types, but starting with m motors is probably a safe bet.
However i I would recommend starting with a set that is already motorised. The RC tracked racer #42065 is relatively cheap and will show him how things can be motorised. Plus the motors, battery box, ir receiver and remote control can be used in other creator sets like the fairground or with technic.
Whatever you get just remember the batteries. Lots and lots of batteries. Mostly aaa, but some of the battery boxes take aa.
Figure how much he'd spend on lego in a year and put it all on one gift card!! What AFOL wouldn't want like a $500-1000 gift card, lol? See, he is going to spend the money anyway, and now you get credit for the "gift"...win-win!
I would highly recommend surprising your AFOL husband with the 42065. Gift cards are boring because there is nothing to play with on Christmas morning. If he decides he doesn't want it then he can return it and have the equivalent of a gift card anyway. Make Christmas great again by purchasing the RC racer!
And he'll capitulate instantly.*
*Probably. But it's still worth doing.
That at least will help narrow down the motors he would need.
If you do know, then do you know if there are any other sets in that same genre he would want?
I ask because maybe what you do is a large set along the same theme and a gift card for the motors.