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this is so GM...

"GM demonstrated the technology on an electric Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck at a suburban Los Angeles race track.

Wheel hub motors — built by Italy’s Lucchi R. Elettromeccanica Srl — were bolted to the rear wheels of the S-10. Each motor generates about 25 kilowatts of power. The addition of the motors boost torque to the front-wheel drive, four-cylinder vehicle by 60 percent."

I thought this was interesting! Either the reporter totally blew it, or GM did. First it's an electric S-10 (didn't think they were still making them), then it's a front wheel drive, four cylinder vehicle - or maybe I read the article wrong...
 

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GM made the S-10 E in 96 and 97 I think with their Gen 1 EV1 drive train outfitted for truck use. They had them setup with a big AC motor driving the front wheels through a reduction gear. They have not made them since, but I've heard they took some of the ones they got back and fitted one with a fuel cell which they are currenty testing. Quite a hybrid that'd be. A few slipped by GM's lease only of them, I've gone for a ride in one. Very impressive little truck, freakin fast too.

So maybe this was redesigned. Who knows. They have a lot of interesting vehicles at their desert prooving grounds in Mesa from what I hear.
 

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Mostly, this seems like a cheap way to retrofit gas cars with hybrid boost. Likely, this is a good idea, but in the long run, vehicles that are designed for good handling generally try to minimize wheel mass so the wheel can follow the road better, bouncing up and down while still in contact with the road, instead of bouncing upward with too much momentum, leaving the ground before the springs can push them back down to make contact.

This is why performance cars have mag-alloy wheels and high-performance cars move the brakes from the wheels to the other end of the drive shaft.

For a little more money, they could move the electric motors in next to the differential in the back and next to the transaxle in the front... but then they could save weight by having fewer electric motors, connecting them to the transmission, like the Prius or connecting them to the engine, like the Insight and the Civic Hybrid.

The Prius design limits your transmission options, hence they don't offer a manual transmission. The Honda design disengages regenerative braking if you declutch or shift to neutral on the 5-speed and doesn't allow an electric-only drive mode. Every design has its compromise.
 

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Wheel hub motors are often discussed on the Electric Vehicle list. The general concensus is that they possess too much unsprung weight, and since they eliminate the possibility of a transmission, are way to inefficient.
 

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I believe Acura has a SUV that was shown at the car shows this year that has two of these motors driving the rear wheels while the gas engine powers the fronts.
 

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Don't forget the important role the Insight IMA plays in balancing out the 3-cylinder engine vibrations.
 

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I have seen articles about car manufacturers using supplemental electric motors across the pond here as well. However, the manufacturers only seem to be interested in more torque to shift their two ton boxes.

Note that the above article does not mention 'environment' or 'emissions' once.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Silver Streaker said:
I have seen articles about car manufacturers using supplemental electric motors across the pond here as well. However, the manufacturers only seem to be interested in more torque to shift their two ton boxes.

Note that the above article does not mention 'environment' or 'emissions' once.
Well, I've come to accept that the US consumers will not buy a vehicle because of the "enivornment" or better emissions. The only way to sell a hybrid to mainstream is to tell them that you're getting a "V6-like power with just a 4-cylinder engine".

Since owners of SUVs and trucks are the ones that consume the most gasoline, they are the ones that needs a hybrid vehicle more than we do.

For people who switched from a sedan to an Insight, their annual gas savings will still be less than an improved truck with a few extra miles per gallon.

The production numbers for Hybrid are still very low in today's standards, and it may still take a long time before we can see some significant numbers. We have to admit that selling the environment just isn't going to beat selling of a fictious lifestyle (the ones you see typically with the SUV commercials). For now, I'd like to see more acceptance of hybrid technology from the other side of the fence, even if it's going to improve MPG for only a few miles. That will save us more gasoline in the immediate futre.

Charles
 
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