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Volvo in-wheel electric motor

December 3, 2008

A friend of mine from Mazda took me to check out the Volvo ReCharge Concept Vehicle. Its basically a c30 with weird in-wheel motors.

I gotta tell ya, its pretty crappy.

Theres 3 of them in the USA right now and i hear 2 of them are broken. (including the one i checked out)

It sucks because, of the in-wheel motor design. First of all, “in-wheel” motors are probably the most efficient design for electric motor vehicles. But they do not perform well as daily driven passenger cars or high performance cars. The reason is the Weight it places on the loaded wheels! Out of all of the places you need to make light on the car are the wheels. Simply because of the sprung/unsprung weight. Imagine an additional 20 pounds on every wheel, going 60 miles per hour on a semi-old highway! Its probably dangerous and would probably be a horrible ride.

Dont get me wrong, getting the power source as close to the wheels as possible is the way to go. BUT YOU GOTTA DO IT INTELLIGENTLY!

Now, if you put:

2 small 100 horse power motor in the front connected via a carbon fiber half-shafts
2 small 150 horse power motor in the rear connected via a carbon fiber half-shafts
4 traction control sensors (on each wheel)
4 wheel-speed sensor (on each wheel)
4 big-red brembo brakes
1 computer

–now, thats a great idea!

note: the reason you want to separate the front drive from the rear drive is because it gives you a great deal amount of automotive control. with this configuration you can have:

– dynamic four-wheel drive maximizing your power-cell utilization. (it only gives power to the wheels that need it at the most, especially useful during turns)
– you’ll recover more regenerative breaking in the front wheels. and its probably safer and gives you more car control.
– you can recover energy all the time especially on cruising speeds and turning.
– you can remove the transmission all together.
– you have better weight distribution

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