Israeli startup Ree puts the motor in the wheel
The Israeli startup Ree has developed a new space-saving architecture for future electric cars that will give designers more room to design the vehicle interior.
The concept presented here is based on the idea of accommodating all the components necessary for locomotion in the wheel and wheel arch. This applies not only to the engine but also to the controls, suspension, brakes, sensors and electronic components. This results in a flat platform in which the batteries are installed and the wheel arches that are necessary anyway. However, the space between the axles is free and can be used for other purposes.
This would allow vehicle designers to rearrange the seats or load space of a car and use new body shapes. Most current electric cars rely on axle motors that sit between the wheels of the driven axles. All in all, this electric technology is also much more space-saving than a conventional combustion engine, but the classic layout of the vehicle is still retained.
Wheel hub motors are not a new invention in themselves but have not yet established themselves in mass production electric cars. The recently introduced Lightyear One solar electric car has taken up the concept again – but not to realize a radically new interior concept, but to increase efficiency with the shortest possible drive paths.
Ree’s idea goes one step further: not only the engine is to be moved into the wheel, but also the steering, other components of the drive train, but also the chassis and brakes are accommodated as a complex unit in the wheel housing.
The Ree platform would make it possible to place a body on the mobile chassis as desired. The concept offers even more freedom than a more conventional platform such as the MEB from Volkswagen – for example, the installation position of the engine and the power electronics virtually determine parts of the interior. While the latter will start soon (pre-series production has already started), it is not yet clear for Ree whether the radical concept will ever make it into series production.