There’s a new breed of EV in testing at an undisclosed location in Europe. Elaphe Propulsion, an EU-based manufacturer of in-wheel electric propulsion systems, has built a prototype vehicle, based on an Audi R8 space-frame chassis, that uses no dedicated space on the car for the powertrain.
Elaphe’s configuration squeezes the motors into the existing space inside the wheels, and uses no gearboxes or transmission. The motors are tiny – just 2 cm thick and 6 cm wide – and look like a pair of rings.
According to Elaphe, in-wheel motor technology eliminates the need to integrate motors with an existing powertrain, and also reduces the efficiency losses and latency that come with longer, more complex powertrains.
In 2017, Elaphe unveiled an SUV prototype with in-wheel motors that weighed over 2.4 tons, and accelerated from 0-60 in less than 4.8 seconds.
This time, Elaphe’s engineers wanted to break the 3-second threshold using only direct-drive in-wheel motors. The new vehicle is still in development, but the latest video of the testing shows the prototype burning rubber during its first acceleration test. The preliminary prototype, using only the available torque with no control tuning, brings the car from 0 to 60 in just over 3.5 seconds.
Elaphe’s four in-wheel motors put down a combined 6,000 Nm of torque and 440 kW of peak power. All the power electronics, controls and motors used in the R8 prototype were developed and built in-house.
The team at Elaphe has been working on EV motors for over a decade, and has now shifted its focus from bespoke powertrain solutions to ramping up manufacturing operations to support mass production. The company has established manufacturing operations in China with a capacity of 20,000 units per year, and is currently seeking the funding to increase capacity over the next two years.
Source: Elaphe Propulsion Technologies