The Technology and Economics of In-Wheel Motors 2010-01-2307
Electric vehicle development is at a crossroads. Consumers want vehicles that offer the same size, performance, range, reliability and cost as their current vehicles. OEMs must make a profit, and the government requires compliance with emissions standards. The result - low volume, compromised vehicles that consumers don't want, with questionable longevity and minimal profitability.
In-wheel motor technology offers a solution to these problems; providing power equivalent to ICE alternatives in a package that does not invade chassis, passenger and cargo space. At the same time in-wheel motors can reduce vehicle part count, complexity and cost, feature integrated power electronics, give complete design freedom and the potential for increased regenerative braking (reducing battery size and cost, or increasing range). Together, these advantages create the tipping point for OEM acceptance of in-wheel-motor technology, offering them an immediate opportunity to build larger electric and hybrid vehicles, including full-size sedans and SUVs -vehicles that consumers want and are profitable to manufacture.