The Packaging And Integration Challenges Of In-Wheel Motors

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Abstract: The Packaging And Integration Challenges Of In-Wheel Motors

One of the fundamental advantages of in-wheel motors is that they free up packaging space on the vehicle platform. From retrofits to new vehicle designs, the freedom to add batteries, range extenders, or simply preserve cargo and passenger space is a major competitive advantage for all styles of in-wheel motor over more conventional electrical machines.

This advantage needs to be preserved by not having to re-locate the friction brake to a position on the sprung mass of the vehicle, so both motors and brakes must be accommodated inside the wheels of a vehicle. To preserve as much of the retrofit market as possible, it must be ensured that the packaging solution inside the wheel does not require significant platform tear-up. In addition, the whole system must be safe, reliable, and provide credible vehicle performance. This has led to some radically different in-wheel motor concepts being developed by various organisations around the world.

Protean’s unique solution to this packaging problem was, on the face of it, a bold one for a start-up company; displace the brake to provide space for a motor, and develop a new packaging philosophy for the unsprung assembly incorporating both brake and motor. By working with an expert partner on the braking side, this, we believe, results in a much more harmonious use of the valuable space inside the wheel than other in-wheel solutions, and meets or exceeds all the requirements outlined above.

This study will provide details of the process that resulted in the Protean design, as well as highlight the engineering of the solution fitted to the front axle of the high performance Protean/Brabus E-Class vehicle.