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A new type of engine for electric cars

[2019.07.12, Fri 02:18] AT THE DAWN of the motor industry one of its pioneers, Ferdinand Porsche, caused a sensation at the Paris World Fair in 1900 with a vehicle driven by a pair of electric motors incorporated into its front wheels. Despite the fact that electric vehicles are now returning to the road with a vengeance, the idea of using "In-wheel" motors of the sort Porsche pioneered has failed to follow suit. Since the firm was founded in 2010 by Ian Hunter, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Indigo's engineers have been developing an in-wheel drive system they call the T1. They believe that their system, a module that incorporates brakes, steering and an active suspension, as well as a motor, overcomes both the electrical problem and the unsprung-weight problem, thus paving the way for in-wheel drives to become mainstream. To reduce the electrical difficulties, the T1 runs at 48 volts instead of the 400 volts or more used by the motors in existing electric cars. Lowering the voltage almost tenfold in this way does make the T1's motor easier to protect and insulate, which in turn makes it cheaper to produce than higher-voltage motors, says Brian Hemond, Indigo's boss. Reduced vehicle weight means also that the propulsive motors do not need to be as powerful as those of conventional electric cars-especially as the task of propulsion is divided four ways between them. Nor are any gears involved, for the motors turn only as fast as the vehicle's wheels, which is a relatively low speed for an electric motor and further reduces its need to be powerful. Google the news >>

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