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New Japanese Direct Drive System for EVs Promises a Reduction in Energy Loss by 30 Percent

Hitachi Astemo announced a new compact and lightweight direct drive system that would reduce energy loss and increase the range of electric vehicles.
Hitachi Astemo in-wheel direct drive system 6 photos
Hitachi Astemo in-wheel direct drive systemHitachi Astemo in-wheel direct drive systemHitachi Astemo in-wheel direct drive systemHitachi Astemo in-wheel direct drive systemHitachi Astemo in-wheel direct drive system
In the ongoing race for better range, automakers constantly strive to stay creative and find new ways to get more miles on a single charge. Japan-based Hitachi and Hitachi Astemo, the latter being a joint venture between Hitachi and Honda Motor, developed a new direct drive that promises to bring several improvements to electric vehicles.

The two companies, which founded Hitachi Astemo earlier this year, came up with an in-wheel drive system for EVs, which is compact and lightweight. It combines the motor, inverter, and brake into a single unit, with the entire system being installed directly into the wheel. This system would lead to a reduction in energy loss by 30 percent and an increase in the range per charge, compared to conventional electric cars.

According to Hitachi, this new type of drive wouldn’t cause any significant changes in the configuration of the suspension and other components. One of its main advantages is the reduced weight, as parts such as drive shafts and other indirect mechanisms that were included in the previous suspension design, would no longer be required.

Another benefit of the system is that it uses direct-cooling technology, which further reduces the required space for installation. Hitachi explains that with this technology, high-insulating cooling oil directly cools the power semiconductors and is cycled to the motor to directly cool the coils.

As far as numbers are concerned, Hitachi claims the unit would fit a 19” wheel size and the power density of the motor would be 2.5 kW/kg. The maximum output would be 60 kW and the maximum torque produced would be 960 Nm.

Hitachi and Hitachi Astemo plan to present their new technology at the Aachen Colloquim in Germany, which takes place in Aachen between October 4 and October 6.

Hitachi Astemo is headquartered in Tokyo and describes itself as an automotive and transportation components developer, manufacturer, and seller.

press release

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