A wheel motor is, as its name implies, an engine built into a wheel. This engine can be an internal combustion or electric engine, but the latter version is more common and of interest designers of clean vehicles and vehicles that are petroleum independent.
Applications of the wheel motor
The wheel motor is an old technology, including its electric version. This type of engine was already being used to propel an electric vehicle in 1900, and was also used in lunar rovers. In this type of engine, the electric motor stator is also the hub of the wheel, while the rotor structure serves as the rim.
Advantages of the wheel motor
The main interest of the wheel motor is that it does not use transmission systems and their energy losses. It also frees up more volume in the vehicle which can be used to store energy. Finally, the electric wheel motor multiplies the options for electronic driving assistance: acceleration, roadholding, braking.
The wheel motor of the Eclipse IV, a student solar vehicle project. © François Proulx CC by-nc-nd 2.0