At TH Cologne, a research team is working on a new wheel hub drive for e-cars. Among other things, this should offer significant cost advantages. However, there is still a problem.
Even as the car was learning to run, vehicles were powered by electric hub motors. This ancient concept has been taken up by a research team of the TH Cologne together with the old SW GmbH. Among other things, their modern version should help to significantly reduce the production costs of electric cars.
The core of the wheel hub drive is a rim motor integrated between the brake and the rim together with the power electronics in the wheel. According to Andreas Lohner of the Institute of Automation Technology of the TH Cologne, it has been possible to realize a space-neutral integration in standard wheels. In a so-called skateboard configuration - ie a platform with integrated battery and wheel hub motors all around - this technology allows the combination with almost any body shape.
Performance data are not yet mentioned, but should be a two-ton e-car with the four engines eight seconds from the Tempo 100 reach and a maximum of 160 km / h fast. At the same time, the wheel hub motors guarantee an all-wheel drive, which promises especially agility and driving pleasure thanks to wheel-selective torque control.
Since the electric motors developed by TH Cologne do not use permanent magnets, they can do without ecologically questionable rare earths. The rim motors are instead made of sheet metal, aluminum and copper. This promises price stability and 30 to 40 percent lower manufacturing costs. In addition, drive shaft and gearbox are unnecessary, which also has a positive effect on the manufacturing as well as subsequent maintenance costs.
At the moment, the researchers at TH Cologne are trying to minimize the high level of noise inherent in magnetless motors. The prototype is therefore still very loud especially when starting off. Recently, it has focused on this problem, which has already led to a halving of the noise level. The primary goal is to bring the machine to a mass market suitable acoustic level.