The battery electric vehicle (BEV) has improved significantly over the last decade, with the operating range and driving performance of new models eclipsing that of early examples. Despite these advances, the BEV remains an ongoing experiment, and design approaches vary between manufacturers. Some opt for large batteries and electrified front and rear axles, while others have gone for smaller, lighter systems with a single ‘e-axle’.
However, there is one common trend: power is still transferred through a series of systems and components before eventually reaching the wheels. Some within the industry believe this can be done more efficiently by placing the motor closer to where power is needed: directly in the wheel hubs.
Elaphe Propulsion Technologies is a Slovenia-based company that has been working on high-torque electric motors since the late 1980s. It believes that such motors can be integrated within individual wheels to great effect, and a recent funding round would indicate that investors think so too. In September, the company received €4.2m (US$4.7m) from EIT InnoEnergy, an organisation that invests in sustainable energy projects and is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
Speaking to Automotive World, Elaphe’s Chief Executive, Gorazd Lampic, explained how the cash injection will accelerate the company’s deployment of in-wheel motor technology for next-generation BEVs, and how it is a ‘sustainable energy unicorn’ in the making. …