Saietta Group, an engineering company based in Oxfordshire, England, has unveiled a smart mobility platform to demonstrate the feasibility of in-wheel motors for inner-city electric vehicles.
The electric drive system is split across all four wheels and located at the four corners of the platform. The company claims their AFT 140 in-wheel electric motors provide excellent manoeuvrability, flexibility, modularity and four-wheel drive capability. Additionally, the Saietta technology is also effective at regenerative braking. The company sees many potential uses for the new electric vehicle platform, including as “people carriers, last mile e-commerce delivery, mobile shops, refuse collection and inner city autonomous pods.”
The design is somewhat reminiscent of the Israeli company Ree Automotive, who presented their wheel-based platform in 2019. The designs differ slightly, however, as Ree Automotive’s electric motors are placed between the chassis and the wheel, instead of inside the wheel itself. Additionally, Ree is further along in the development process and recently signed a development agreement with Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors. However, it should also be said that Ree is a company focused on the platform, while Saeitta has other plans.
“We are not intending to become a platform manufacturer and only developed a chassis to demonstrate the power of our in-wheel motor innovation,” said Wicher Kist, Chief Executive Officer at Saietta Group, “We want to work with platform developers, complementing rather than competing with their innovation. Ultimately we believe that inner-city electric vehicles will be fully autonomous and our in-wheel motor technology can play an important role in this market.”
Saeitta intends to start a discussion about formats for electric vehicles while showcasing the flexibility of their electric motor system for a variety of urban uses. How this platform will develop, if at all, remains to be seen.