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In the last couple of years, green car enthusiasts have gotten all hot and bothered by the idea of cars like the Tesla Roadster, Zap-X and Chevrolet Volt. And while these cars and others seem incredibly innovative today, in reality they all have roots in cars built over a century ago by one of the true innovators in the history of the automobile, Ferdinand Porsche.
Most know Porsche for the line of sports cars bearing his name or a round little car that came from Wolfsburg Germany or the insanely fast Auto Union Grand Prix cars of the 1930s. Early in his career in 1898, Porsche developed an electric hub motor design that was incorporated into a series of cars that eventually won a number of competitions. Ultimately Porsche even developed a series hybrid version with an engine that only ran a generator to charge the batteries. Sound familiar? Then, as now, the limiting factor was battery technology. A 1900 example will be shown on the Porsche stand at the LA Auto Show next week alongside the new Cayenne hybrid which is being displayed in the US for the first time.

[Source: CNN Money]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 3 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      whoa, that thing is ye olde batmobile!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Those crazy kids and their new-fangled hub motors... hey, get off my lawn!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hear lots of vigorous debate of the pros and cons of hub motors (HMs)... that they add too much unsprung weight, reducing controllability.

      HM advocates point out that they free much space and reduce weight significantly-- no drive shaft tunnel, no transmission hump, no huge single motor hogging potential cargo space or limiting leg room. No differential, axles, brake master cylinders, brake boosters or other brake hardware either-- in fact, the only moving parts on such vehicles are the wheels themselves-- they don't even need brake disks or calipers.

      Regardless of any objections, some of the very first mass-market EVs will use HMs, and if those first HM-powered car buyers like the form factor and no safety issues arise, it's a done deal-- there will be no turning back. HMs will be here to stay.

      It's inevitable that HM tech will advance, making them ever smaller, lighter, more powerful and reliable. As they approach the weight of the brake disks and calipers they replace, there will be no reasonable argument against their use. Vehicles will never be built again with more than four moving parts-- the wheels.