Plastics help the SIM-WIL prototype electric vehicle, which has motors in its wheels, travel 218 miles on a single charge, or 30 percent farther than current mass-produced EVs. (Source: DuPont Performance Polymers)
Was this article about the car or about Dupont plastics? I find it hard to believe that we got nothing about the battery or electronics on this car. So many new technologies and all we get is plastics talk.
Motor in wheel is certainly an interesting idea (and an obvious one; it's been done before).
The statement "30 percent farther than other mass-produced EVs" is clearly not true. A cynic might say there isn't any such thing as a mass-produced EV, but if you assume that this means "not a concept car" and "not a limited production hand-built car" (like the Tesla Roadster) but rather something built in to a factory with the hope that it would sell in the thousands (like the Leaf) then clearly the Tesla model S qualifies, and that has a range around 300 miles.
Ann, one of the major drawbacks of any EV is its less mileage. So any innovation, which can increase the mileage, may get more appreciated from both market and customer side. But am not getting how its possible to deploy one- one motor for each wheel
Thinking about this, the idea of a plastic body for a car with hundreds of watt of energy flowing through it is very smart. I've shocked myself touching the body of a normal auto when static electricity had built up, and it was not fun. Amplify that by a factor of, oh, maybe 200 to 400, and wow! the advantage of using non-conductive parts begins to sound really intelligent. So I'm all in favor of it.
The unsprung weight of the car due to motors in the wheels would certainly reduce its handling capability. And I'd sure hate to hit a big pothole; you'd be out shopping for a new tire and wheel immediately, as soon as your teeth stopped rattling.
The range sounds almost too good- I wonder if it's anywhere near that far at freeway speeds.
But why do they insist on making these things look dorky? Did someone pass a law against making them look like a Tesla?
Ann, I have a feeling we'll look back at this period as an explosion of innovation in the auto industry. I would guess a lot of the technology that's getting developed to support hybrids and EVs will also be handy when used to meet the higher mpg standards in conventional autos.
abq-engineer, thanks for that link. What fun! It sounds like a very similar design concept to the SIM-WIL. Of course, as the article points out, it weighed a lot because of the 1.8 tonnes (metric tons, or 1.984 US short tons) of batteries needed.
While I would agree that there is indeed some ICE legacy to the single motor design direction there are other considerations.
Placing the motors in the wheels increases the unsprung mass of the vehicle and this has an adverse effect on the performance of the suspension. Typically both ride and handling charateristics deteriorate when the ratio of unsprung to sprung mass increases. For the locomotives in your example, traveling on a smooth rail this is farless of an issue.
One possiblity is placing the motor very near the wheel with a short drive shaft. Yes the complexity of the sytem increases, but it may still be better than the centrally located motor without the drawbacks of placing the mass outboard of the suspension.
I have to say, that I have heard of this design approach before (motors in wheels) but not sure if it was ever on a vehicle intended for production. Makes perfect sense, though. No more drive shaft tunnel or heavy gearbox and differential. I'll bet it's low maintenance as well. Total cost of ownership/operation is probably pretty good when compared to gasoline and hybrid models.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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