EVS29: Wireless in-wheel motors could lead to EVs without batteries

Let's get all future-y on this one.

One of the more interesting panel presentations at EVS29 in Montreal, Canada this week was a discussion about wireless in-wheel motors. You may have heard of in-wheel motors before because there's an ongoing discussion about just how much they help or hurt an EV's efficiency. The wireless version that the University of Tokyo is working on replaces the cables that carry electricity from the battery to the spinny bits and instead use magnetic coils that can send the power through the air. The tech made headlines last year. You can watch our talk with the UoT's Takuma Takeuchi, the graduate student who presented the paper about the in-wheel motors in Montreal, below.

Takeuchi says that these in-wheel motors have "a lot of merit" to make EVs more efficient. One of the benefits of the wireless power transfer is that you don't have to worry about the wires breaking. But more exciting is the idea that you could let induction charging pads in the roads power the wheels directly, bypassing any sort of on-board energy storage. Since Takeuchi is starting work at Toyota soon, the next batch of student is going to build a test track on campus to keep advancing the technology.

As of last year, the wireless motors could transmit power through about 20 cm of empty air at 95 percent efficiency and can get the small prototype vehicle (which you can see in the video above) up to around 45 miles per hour.

For way more on in-wheel motors, check out these stories.

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