In the future, electric vehicles will need to meet a range of technical requirements in order to outperform their competitors, and advanced skateboard platforms alone will not be enough. While batteries will be crucial for reducing weight and increasing range, electric motors will also need to be highly efficient and deliver exceptional performance.
Combining these qualities presents a significant challenge, especially when it comes to the goal of reducing the size of electric cars. One solution is to use electric motors in each wheel, as currently found in only the most exclusive and sporty models, such as the upcoming Mercedes EQG.
Schaeffler, a leading German supplier, claims to have developed a new electric motor that surpasses anything currently available, and could save millions of euros for the industry. This innovative motor integrates not only the stator and rotor, but also the gearbox and friction brake, all located around the wheel bearing on the inside of the rim. Although currently designed for a 14-inch wheel, the motor can deliver between 7 and 26 nominal kW, with a maximum output of 60 kW.
The only component not located in the wheel is the inverter, but Schaeffler has found a practical solution by installing it anywhere on the platform. This approach allows for the control of one or two motors, which in turn creates more space for the battery. While these motors are currently only used in special service vehicles, Schaeffler is already working on improving them for use in electric networks of 48V, 400V, and even 800V. This opens up exciting possibilities for the electric future, beyond what is currently achievable with existing technologies.