World's First Wireless In-Wheel Electric Motor Comes From Japan

Let's do a memory exercise together and remember what specs Chevrolet provided for their alien FNR concept shown during Auto Shanghai 2015. That's right, it had magnetic hubless wheel electric motors among other gizmos. Why did we open this subject?
In-Wheel Wireless Hub Motor 1 photo
Photo: University of Tokyo
Well, Japan might have just created the first wireless in-wheel electric motor, and we're not talking about internet connectivity here.

According to Asia and Japan Watch, Japanese researchers from the University of Tokyo have come up with 'the world’s first in-wheel motor system for electric vehicles'. The in-wheel motor is also known as a wheel hub motor - incorporated directly into a vehicle's wheels, to undeviatingly drive each wheel.

Moreover, scientists ran a motor using a maximum of 3 kW of electricity to test the new system that, briefly put, transmits electricity wirelessly from an onboard power source to a coil attached to the wheel hubs. According to the same source, the rear-wheel-drive test EV can go as fast as 75 km/h (46 mph).

“This technology will pave the way for the development of advanced electric vehicles, including those that receive electricity wirelessly from transmitting coils that are embedded under road surfaces. It can be also applied to fuel-cell vehicles and industrial machinery,” explained Hiroshi Fujimoto, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo.

How the 'magic' works

If you compare conventional electric vehicles with the in-wheel motor model, you'll quickly see that the latter doesn't require a drive shaft.

What a drive shaft does - as most of you probably know - is to take power from a single source and (mechanically) transfer it to where it's needed; in a car's case, to the wheels, an action that puts the vehicle in motion.

So a vehicle using wireless in-wheel electric motors will be much lighter and much more efficient. Also, with the possibility of controlling each wheel individually, one can say goodbye to skids and uncontrolled slides.
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