The system consists of two crazy little mechanisms inside the wheel, one that is responsible for traction and braking and the other for electric active suspension control. All the other components, transmission, engine and gearbox, are integrated inside the wheel one way or the other.
According to gizmag, each Michelin in-wheel motor weighs 42kg and includes a small water cooled drive motor that has the size of a starter motor. That motor has a gear that drives another gear and that makes the tire turn. There is also a second motor that operates the active suspension replacing the shock absorber.
The system was first displayed at the Bibendum Challenge in 2004 in a fuel cell powered electric concept vehicle called Hy-Light, where the two motors in each wheel outperformed a Ferrari and a Porsche when it came to braking. The old-school models took 6 seconds to stop from 100 km/h as opposed to the Active Wheel System. This is a classic example of the Jestsons beating the Flinstones, but it just isn't so.
Yes, this means no spine tingling Ferrari V8 sound, no more rock&roll American powerhouses, just a dim whirl as you drive along in your pathetic existence. The system works fine and people say that it has great potential. The only thing we can compare this system to is alcohol-free beer because it is the best beverage for the beer lover. It too when it was released posed great potential, it too was launched in a period when people had limited access to a range of products as it saw daylight during the Prohibition and the Twirl in the middle of a fuel crisis.
But you don't go to the pub with your mates to drink alcohol free beer and you don't drink the beverage to stay healthy. This is the problem with these sterile wheel systems... there isn't a fun factor, just 2 robots working inside a wheel like hamsters. At least, that's the way we see it.