Efficient wheel-hub drive platform increases driving range

August 30, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Efficient wheel-hub drive platform increases driving range
Munich-based start-up DeepDrive GmbH has developed a wheel hub drive along with an associated "skateboard" vehicle platform that enables electric vehicle developers to save a significant amount of electrical energy.

According to DeepDrive sources and press reports, the patented wheel hub drive is said to develop a torque of over 1,800 Nm and more than 150 kW of power - with an efficiency of over 96 percent. The range of the vehicles can thus be increased by up to 20%, the company advertises.

The engine has been dimensioned to fit a standard 18-inch rim. For this purpose, the company has developed what it calls “a new type of engine technology". It is characterised by the economical use of resources, production processes suitable for series production and excellent acoustic properties, DeepDrive claims.

The DeepDrive engineers want to solve the often criticised problem of high unsprung masses in two ways. The motor should weigh less than 30 kilograms. If, in addition, two of these motors are mounted on the rear axle of an electric car, it is possible to dispense with a mechanical brake there and thus further reduce the weight of the overall wheel. "The increase in unsprung mass is minimised in this way," explained DeepDrive co-founder Stefan Ender. The wheel hub motors are designed in such a way that they develop sufficient braking torque even without a mechanical brake.

To prove the targeted performance data, the start-up had a prototype scaled in diameter tested at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research (IFAM) in Bremen. These tests confirmed the efficiency and performance of the developed technology, according to DeepDrive. "The drive was tested with high-quality measurement technology and achieved the predicted efficiency in the started operating range," confirms Dennis Koch, who is responsible for the design and operation of the motor test benches at IFAM.

If possible, DeepDrive does not want to supply its own wheel hub motors to a vehicle manufacturer. The company's goal, on the other hand, is to supply manufacturers with a complete platform with these drives, which is designed for the aforementioned use

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