SIM-Drive Corporation, a Japanese consortium based in Kawasaki-shi and comprised of 34 companies and municipalities, has announced that it has developed a functioning electric car based on in-wheel electric motor technology.
Named, the SIM-LEI, (Leading Efficiency In-Wheel motor), the electric vehicle (EV) is roughly the same length as a sedan but only as wide as a compact. It sports the same lithium-ion batteries (supplied by Toyota Corp) as most other EVs on the market and can travel over two hundred miles on a charge. What’s unique about the SIM-LEI though, of course are the in-line electric wheels.
While traditional cars have their motors under the hood, including most EVs, the SIM-LEI, uses small electric motors mounted in the individual wheel housings behind the tires. These motors than drive the wheels directly, rather than using a drive shaft, which makes them far more efficient than other cars. Until now, in-wheel motors have been thought to lack the power necessary to propel a car in a manner that most are used to. SIM-Drive appears to have overcome this problem however, with new technology (including using outer-rotors and inner stators, instead of the traditional inner rotors and outer stators) as the SIM-LEI is able to move from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.8 seconds. And because the individual motors can be fitted with sensors, allowing nearly instantaneous reaction to conditions, responsiveness is expected to be better than most cars now on the road. According to the company, the SIM-LEI is capable of traveling 333 km (207 miles) on a single charge.