• Jul 21, 2006
The world's fastest plug-in hybrid


Apparently high-performance electric vehicles are today's supercar du jour (see Tesla Roadster and OBVIO! 828). British firm PML decided, however, that not enough attention was being paid to in-wheel electric motor technology (except by Mitsubishi?), and decided to build a platform on which to showcase the technology.

The PML MINI QED sports four in-wheel electric motors, each of which produce 160 bhp for a total of 640 all-electric bhp. That power can propel the EV MINI to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 150 mph. A battery pack and bank of ultracapacitors is at the ready to dish out enough wattage to power the car for four hours, while there's a 250cc 2-cylinder four-stroke gas engine on board to generate more electricity for longer trips. It can even be plugged in to recharge at night, making it unofficially the fastest plug-in hybrid in the world.

Drivers can select between three modes that will affect the MINI QED's range: Eco, Normal and Sport mode, the latter of which unleashes the electron-induced fury of PML's powertrain. Unfortunately, it's just a what-if vehicle, although PML says it's open to adapting its system for use in other commercially available vehicles.

(PDF specs of PML MINI QED can be found here and more pics are after the jump)

[Source: PML, Channel4]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      As a petrol head and an electrical engineer I think this technology is great, but it annoys me to see small companies like this giving it a go while the big manufactures spend millions every year turning out odd looking completely pointless concept cars which in real terms aren’t any where near as practical as what we see here, while at the same time filling their showrooms with the same old combination of piston engine driven tat in supposedly more desirable looking boxes with sat nav. I love cars and am not afraid of spending money, but right now other than exotics there is nothing available that will tempt me to swallow the usual ridiculous de-valuation and replace any of my existing cars, currently the money I spend goes mostly to tuning companies. If somebody packaged this technology into a reasonably priced car with the good performance and exceptional fuel efficiency it seems to offer, it would be a break from the norm, a step in the right direction and I’d be front of the queue…

      Come on car companies you’re all complaining that sales are down, stop messing around with old technology and the pointless PR stunt hybrids you’re currently turning out, give us something worth getting excited about….
      • 8 Years Ago
      In wheel electric motors are the dumbest most inefficient way you could possibly power a vehicle.
      Lets see:
      Incresed unsprung weight = crap ride comfort
      No torque multiplication
      You can't free wheel.
      And it looks retarded with the tires sticking out like that. Mitsubishi's similar concept cars are just as bad.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This concept w/small eng powered generator on board is the wave of the future. a sorted out production model would certainly be my next set of wheels.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Its still a brick. Not trying to bash the Mini, but really, the Mini is over 3300 pounds in its natural form. What is mini about that kind of weight? Even the New Beetle is 400-500 pounds less.AC
      • 8 Years Ago
      Joe seems to be quite the intellectual giant. I'm in line with all the others to get this techonology out ot the public asap. While considering an electric conversion of an old Inifiniti I30 that's our "extra" car - one of the first considerations was finding an in-wheel electric motor. The space efficiencies, alone, lend more room in the old engine compartment to additional batteries - translation - more range. I don't claim to be an engineering whiz - but my father's BEE from Georgia Tech makes him one - the in-wheel electric motors were his idea. They were used in heavy equipment some 50 years ago - very effectively - but were phased out because of battery limitations.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Apart from the disadvantage of offspring weight, in-wheel motors are superior to any other place to put the engine. One advantage that I have not read yet: Less drag resistance.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You can get torque multiplication with wheel motors.
      Lots of heavy duty equipment has planetary reduction gears in the hub.

      I think there are bi-directional overruning clutches, but that is getting too complicated. for KISS electric cars.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wheel pods would simply be a stop-go for converting current cars to electric, if you were to build an electric motorcar outright you'd more than likely mount 4 motors inboard on driveshafts (like alfa gtv rear brakes)

      Joe, the unsprung weight decreases road holding more than comfort, you'd use regerative braking from inboard motors to furthur reduce unsprung weight. Furthur more there's no need for that language - dickhead.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Was your evaluation 'doesn't play well with others'? You might consider looking for some direction in your life.
      • 8 Years Ago
      650hp and only 4.5 sec to 60 wow that thing must be a brick.
      i am glad people are further exploring hybrid cars but until battery weight comes down i dont think handeling is going to be on par with normally aspirated sports cars.

      my opinion.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't think I could get me and my fat american ass (and my fat wife god bless her) in that tiny piece of anglo / teutonic piece of shit. There ain't no substitute for cubes an I'm going to keep my old chevy running till there ain't no fuel left in Eyerack. I'm gonna keep my fellow american blue collar workers in work and flying the good ole stars and stripes YEEHAW!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think it's brilliant. If anyone's in London, they're showing this vehicle at British Motor Show at stand 270 thru July 30th.

      ... and any automotive engineer worth his salt can mitigate the unsprung weight issue in a car designed around such motors. It's not a show-stopper by any stretch. Actually, I stopped reading Joe's post when he said "no torque multiplication". Duh.
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