Research being done at Ohio State University could foreshadow a new generation of electric cars that weigh half as much as traditional consumer vehicles while making substantial improvements to energy efficiency, traction and maneuverability. And it could all be possible through innovative battery and thermal management technologies.
“With four wheels that turn independently, each with its own built-in electric motor and set of batteries, the experimental car is the only one of its kind outside of commercial carmakers’ laboratories,” according to a recent Tech Briefs article.
The news source added that “conventional cars are much more limited in maneuverability by the transmission and differential systems that link the wheels together mechanically. The four independent wheels of the electric car give drivers greater control and more freedom of movement.”
With each wheel having its own 7.5 kW electric motor and a 15 kW lithium-ion battery pack, motorists will have far greater control over their vehicles if these become commercially available. For example, as the article explained, the car has no traditional engine or transmission because of the wheel-specific electric motors. The resultant reduced weight and the ability to have one wheel brake while others accelerate mitigates risks of fishtailing in wet road conditions.
More and more, we are seeing technology breakthroughs that hinge on advanced manufacturing techniques, like state-of-the-art bonding of battery terminals or heat sink assembly. These processes hold the keys to more powerful and efficient consumer products, clean energy systems and a myriad of other market game-changers.
And even if one project does not ultimately make it big in the business and consumer spheres, the lessons learned during its evolution often help to write the first chapter of the next great success story.