Back in the 1980's, when Slovenian quantum physicist Andrej Detela started to develop an in-wheel electric car motor, the idea was way ahead of its time. Recent market studies show that the value of global sales for in-wheel electric propulsion systems could grow from 1.6 billion in 2025 to 12 billion euros in 2030.
The wider adoption of in-wheel motors by the automotive industry could represent a true revolution in the mass car market. If the motors are built into the wheels this brings significant advantages in vehicle design – the cars have more available space and reduced weight. At the same time efficiency is increased “by moving the torque to where it is actually needed”.
Elaphe, a company formed by Andrej Detela and entrepreneur Gorazd Lampič in 2006, is well prepared for this development. With “over 20 different in-wheel motors developed, integrated, and tested in more than 50 fully electric and hybrid vehicles” no other company has as much experience in the area as Elaphe. The company’s patented designs enable high torque and 200 kW of power per car wheel. Moreover, the company has developed a highly adaptable and scalable platform which combines motors, power electronics, and intelligent multiple-motor propulsion control.
Some leading car manufacturers are already cooperating with Elaphe – as well as some newcomers in the automotive industry. These include Lordstown Motors, a US electric truck start-up. Lordstown Motors will start to deliver pick-up trucks in 2021 and has attracted over 40,000 preorders.
An investment of 4.2 million euros, provided this fall by the EIT INNO Energy investment fund could bring further acceleration to Elaphe’s development. The EIT INNO Energy fund is specialised in innovative sustainable energy solutions. The experts of the fund believe that Elaphe’s solution is both the most technologically advanced on the market and commercially ready: “The approach they have taken, developing a highly adaptable platform, will allow them to deliver instantaneous benefit to automotive OEMs and thus have a far-reaching impact on the mobility sector for decades to come.”