Electric powertrains continue to redefine automotive engineering, but we haven't quite seen anything like Slovenian startup Elaphe has created.
The company has spent 15 years working on in-wheel electric motors, and the result is the Elaphe M700, a plug-and-play, off-the-shelf solution for electric car powertrains. The propulsion method is housed in each wheel, and each electric motor features an independent cooling system, a standard disc or drum brake with anti-lock regenerative braking, and a power electronics unit. Each unit weighs about 51 pounds.
Aside from being extraordinarily efficient, the in-wheel motors provide advanced torque vectoring. Electronic controllers help keep the electric car under control at all times and keep tire slippage to a minimum. Meanwhile, a vehicle propulsion control unit is capable of interfacing with self-driving technology or a driver, depending on how the vehicle is set up. A power distribution and management module tells the motor how much power to make available to each wheel.
Speaking of power, each in-wheel electric motor creates a maximum of 101 horsepower or 67 hp on a continual basis. Put two motors on the rear axle and you have 202 hp to launch with 134 hp to use for driving along. Make it four and you have AWD, 404 hp in short bursts, and 268 hp on a regular basis.
Elaphe isn't the first to tackle off-the-shelf electric powertrains. Bosch also developed its own "e-axle," which combines the motor, transmission, and power control electronics all in one. It does not include the battery or software; the automaker must source or develop both.
The Slovenian company hopes to hand of some or all of its components to vehicle designers to create a wide array of transportation solutions. Without the need to house the powertrain under the hood, the design opportunities become plentiful.
To show off its motors at work, Elaphe created a video of testing on an ice track in northern China. Check it out. Maybe soon we will see these motors powering electric vehicles from various brands.