SAE International: Making the case for in-wheel motors

IWMs can improve EV efficiency, dynamics, safety, and manufacturability – when unsprung mass is addressed in their design.

“Much of an IC engine-powered vehicle’s ride, handling, sound and overall character derives from the engine. Some believe that electric vehicles (EVs), propelled by electric motors with no intake or exhaust sound and less gearing and NVH, limit the opportunity for vehicle differentiation. They argue that competitive advantage will need to be achieved through other areas, such as styling and infotainment.

I contend that the exception to this view is the in-wheel motor (IWM), a technology that enables quantum improvements in propulsion efficiency, ride dynamics, active safety, and vehicle design. IWMs enable “turn-on-a-dime” operation, a relevant feature for dense urban environments and safe vehicle entry/egress from the sidewalk. Moreover, the IWM has the potential to extend the revolution – started by the now-ubiquitous EV “skateboard” architecture – in how vehicles are developed, manufactured and serviced.”

Read the full article by Chris Borroni-Bird in SAE International August 2021 here