By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Design
The SIM-LEI can go 207 miles on a single charge, twice the distance of the Nissan Leaf.
A Japanese company has built an electric car that offers a driving range comparable to some gas-powered vehicles -- although it won't be hitting the streets any time soon.
The SIM-LEI, developed by SIM-Drive Corporation, can go 207 miles on a single charge, twice the distance of the Nissan Leaf. And with a 0 to60 acceleration time of just 4.8 seconds, the automaker has demonstrated that exceptional fuel economy for EVs can be achieved all the while flexing a little muscle too.
The secret, however, isn't under the hood but rather in the wheels. The LEI, which stands for Leading Efficiency In-Wheel motor, is powered by a technology first developed in the late 1800's, just prior to the auto industry's widespread adoption of the internal combustion engine.
It was right before the turn of the century that inventors began toying with the concept of bringing to the market an electric motor that can be fitted within the hub of a car's two front wheels. In fact, Ferdinand Porsche earliest models were powered by electric wheel hub motors that ran on batteries. A notable example was the Lohner Porsche, which created quite a buzz when it was introduced at the World's Fair in Paris in 1900.
Although these early versions were unable to match the performance output of gas engines, the technology did boast one important advantage. Internal combustion engines used a complex mechanical process to deliver energy to the wheels, which resulted in much of it being lost. In contrast, the electric motor powered the wheel directly, leading to greater fuel efficiency.
Considering that the SIM-Drive relies on a 24.9 kWh lithium ion battery similar to the Leaf's, the improvement in fuel efficiency can be largely credited to this simple design principle. But the car also features a few innovative tweaks that allow it to keep pace with gas-powered cars in ways its earlier predecessors had only hoped.
According to Phys.org:
Until now, in-wheel motors have been thought to lack the power necessary to propel a car in a manner that most are used to. SIM-Drive appears to have overcome this problem however, with new technology (including using outer-rotors and inner stators, instead of the traditional inner rotors and outer stators) as the SIM-LEI is able to move from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.8 seconds. And because the individual motors can be fitted with sensors, allowing nearly instantaneous reaction to conditions, responsiveness is expected to be better than most cars now on the road.
In-wheel motor technology has also been hampered by the fact that the additional "unsprung weight" of the motor, which can't be supported by a car's standard suspension system, tends to have an adverse affect on road handling.
SIM-DRIVE hasn't released any details in regards to how or even if they've addressed the problem in their latest prototype, but other manufacturers have developed in-wheel systems that they say have made the issue less of concern. For instance, Bridgestone's Dynamic-Damping In-Wheel Motor Drive System overcomes this hurdle by designing the motor to also work as "vibration dampers" that can absorb road bumpiness and others vibrations.
According to the company's press release, "their own vibration offsets the vibration from the road and tires, allowing for better traction and a more-comfortable ride than are possible with other in-wheel or electric drive systems."
Michelin has also created an in-wheel motor known as "Active Wheel" that negates the drawbacks of unsprung weight by replacing a car's entire cast iron friction brake system with a compact electrical system featuring integrated suspension, braking and motor functions.
SIM-DRIVE has yet to announce a starting price for the vehicle and doesn't appear to be in a rush in bringing the car to market. The company plans to have the first models roll off the production line in 2013, which can seem like a lifetime in the auto industry.
Photo: Sim-Lei Corporation
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Everyone seems to think an Electric car will solve the world's problems. I just want to play Devil's advocate here. What will happen to the people in the U.S. that do exploration and drilling when there is no need? Will they still have jobs/ get on welfare/ become a burden on society/ need to re-trained to another job function? And, what about all the energy computer systems and game systems use? I feel the balance in technology to consumption should be reviewed? Is technology turning America soft? Is technology getting any greener? My daughter makes her kids do 15 push-ups and 30 sit-ups per each hour of play time, in advance of any game time, and limits it to 2 hours a day. That's 30 push-ups and 60 sit-ups a day, I salute her! In the summer, I swim 1 hour a day and work out 1 hour. In the winter, I workout 2 hours a day. This is just to keep me in moderate shape. I would like a way to harness human power to supplement our energy needs, instead of just working out to keep in shape. I would like to see gaming systems that require you to physically generate the energy to play the game. Let's face it, more than 50% of today's American kids are 50% as strong as the kids when I grew up. And, they sit around wasting energy and overdeveloping their thumbs on X-BOX. Wake up America!
Your theory is based on the incorrect assumption that Internal- Combustion engine are 100% efficient, but when is anything 100% efficient? If anything else, basic logic would suggest, energy production is better when you centralized, concentrated something, Big Power Generators are much more efficient than small car engine, 60% versus 20%, even if you consider the loss of transmission line, charger off 50%, you are still looking at more 30% energy converted in electricity in batteries versus 20% if you burn is in an ICE. And last I heard, gasoline does not grow on trees nor does it come out of the ground pre-refined ready to put into the car. It requires energy to do exploration, to establishing a drill site, pumping it out of the ground (or ocean floor), transportation to the refinery, energy to process and refine the oil, more transportation to distribution and tank trunks to transport to your local gas station and finally more energy is wasted just pumping it into your car. Don't even get me started on the amount of wasted energy on finding/pumping/refining/transporting motor oil and transmission oil, which you have to replace forever. additional oils that electric cars do not needed or have. Furthermore, do you know we have free/wasted electricity now generated by all power plant when they are running mostly idle at night? There are enough energy that are not used and cannot be stored that is enough to power 1 millions electric vehicles now for practically nothing since the extra electricity generated at night would have been wasted otherwise. Wikipedia: "The burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, or petroleum). In hot gas (gas turbine), turbines are driven directly by gases produced by the combustion of natural gas or oil. Combined cycle gas turbine plants are driven by both steam and natural gas. They generate power by burning natural gas in a gas turbine and use residual heat to generate additional electricity from steam. These plants offer efficiencies of up to 60%." "Even when aided with turbochargers and stock efficiency aids, most engines retain an average efficiency of about 18%-20%"
It is sad to see so much misplaced enthusiasm. Of course we would all like electric vehicles rather than ones driven by fossil fuel. They are less noisy and accelerate faster. However what nobody seems to understand is that electricity is not a primary source of power - it has to be generated from a primary source, either hydrocarbon fuel (gasoline, coal) or renewables such as hydro, wind, sunshine, etc. It follows therefore that electric cars will always be intrinsically more expensive because of the losses that occur in transferring the power generated in the power stations to the car battery. So all this talk about higher efficiency and greeness is just empty talk. The only way electric cars can be made to appear more efficient than those powered by gasoline is if governments subsidise the electricity. Which is exactly what they are doing on a massive scale, so anxious are they to seem green and environment friendly. And those sudsidies are paid by the taxpayer.
this looks good now but there are so many things that rely on gas other than just cars ,trains ,trucks,boats,planes.If every body starts to use electric cars tax revenue will go down, witch it already has, gov. is going to start taxing you by the mile
The only problem with all these new electric concepts is that I've driven them and they just don't feel like a real car. Guess you just have to wait until all us old Geezers die off and the youngsters don't remember what a real internal combustion automobile is supposed to be .... yeah maybe that's it. its hard for a battery machine to replicate the exhilaration of putting your foot into the throttle on a '68 dodge charger 440. Yeah I've seen the Tesla and its cool but until you can get some speakers or something to simulate the sound and feel of a big-block V-8 it just ain't the same, sorry.
Let's put this car up against a '68 duece-and-a-quarter and see which one people would rather be inside of when the two crash!
Thanks everyone for the substantial and valuable feedback. The problem of unsprung weight and cost are definitely major issues (as some of you have mentioned). I have updated the article with information that has been made available to me thus far. Hope it helps!
Rich h powert.....this is NOT a small car...it can handle even the large sizes you seem to detest...this speaks of some sort of inferiority complex more than a scientific reasoning. Did you know most criminals are 5 ft 9 inches tall...maybe we should remove them by genetic identifiers at conception
fuel prices are controlled by the comodoties market not by producers or even refiners. The Tesla has done this performance in a stylish body so this one will eventually have more time spent onm that portion of its package... NOW you all finally realize one of the main reasons why we are in Afghanistan...Lithium
Applause! Way to go, SIM! I love to see thinking outside the pump! I'll take mine covered in photovoltaic skin, quantum hyper-static, dynamic-momentum, perpetual charge-controlled, artificial- intelligence operated, motion-activated proximity-alert collision avoidance and open communication, constant-scan, holographic heads-up display equipped with voice-to-print & override telemetry controllable, interfaced, live-streaming........... Sorry, got excited. My point: send the thing to do my errands!
The problem is Americans are too fat and too tall. Only small short people should be allowed to live and the rest should be exterminated. This planet can no longer support all the big fatties. Think of all the gas that would be saved if the average body mass dropped by 20-40%. Then these micro-electric vehicles might make sense.
Interesting. I watched a perspective on the X Prize competition regarding the FVT car out of BC, Canada. It got 125 (or so) mpg, but had a small gas engine that would come on-line when required to recharge the batteries. There was no shortage of competitors, but since most didn't have the big $$ backing them, had a lot of ';bugs' to work out of their vehicles.
Range, speed, comfort, etc., are all beside the point. The dirty little secret is, the manufactor of one of these universally buttugly little beasts is so filthy that any pollution saved by using one is completely overwhelmed by that of getting one to market. Just once, just once, I'd like to see one reviewer honest enough to include the downside of this manufactoring process in getting to a bottom-line. For certain, if the vehicle has to be driven a couple of hundred years to reach the breakeven point on crap in and crap out, shouldn't that be a major consideration?
Buses have been doing this over 15 years. The practical problem is the unsprung weight. Performance and handling suffers with heavy wheels. Battery technology will decide the fate of the electric car.
Why do they insist on making these electric cars so ugly? I think that Tesla is the only maker with a clue. No one will buy this junk if it is ugly, even if they do get the distances up over 200 miles (ever been to Montana? There aren't even towns as close as 200 miles in most areas of the state). Not to mention, this thing looks like it would fall apart on a dirt road. By the way, I'd also love to hear how this would affect the shipping industry. What are there plans to build an electric powered Semi-Truck that can haul a trailer?
@hoosier1 Synthetic oil technology was developed for the internal combustion eingine in the 1930s by I. G. Farben. Germany used it in their airplanes during World War II. Many synthetic motor oils are manufactured using chemically modified petroleum.
Will this replace gas guzzlers? No, it will replace Beetles and Corollas and Civics. We will elimate the gas guzzlers when we have 8-passenger EVs that can feasably haul a family or sports team or whatever, which includes the ocassional weekend trip over hundreds of miles. Second, when we all switch to EVs, we'll need to build more power plants and infrastructure to handle the additional demand to our electrical grids. So, do you want coal, gas, or nuclear?
And I suppose the Big Three US automobile companies will embrace this? Sorry, there are too many people who profit from the status quo.
This is almost like a stale news now,and hey bad news for crude oil dependent nations,But good news for the developed nations.None the less, the human race would get there, though it might not be totally witnessed during our time.
Looking at the car picture, I do not see how a mini car sized for Japanese people will work for me. Although I am only 6'-3" I do not fit in 95% of cars offered today. The 1900 porsche convertible shown will work for me, while the new SIM-LEI appears more of the same story: just for small people. I need to keep my head twisted to the side and out of an economy model window like a contortionist. It is shameful that car manufacturers have only offered cars with headroom in their largest truck style makes. I get very angry when people assume my vehicle or I are deliberate wasteful guzzlers. Do I need a spine reduction? The government needs to force carmakers to make high mpg cars with headroom, leg room (NO CONSOLES!!!) no door handles or speakers in the knee and adjustable steering columns.
Hurry, hurry, hurry, I don't want to buy gas anymore, they have all the money they could possibly need and if they still need sooo much of it, then they have bitten off more than they can chew.
Please hurry with this electric car, because this planet is in danger of losing all of it's sea life. So many money hungry, greedy people have almost completely destroyed the planet, because of money. I guess they don't care as long as they can sit on their big pile by themselves with no animal life, no nature to see, anymore.They have tried to completely destroy everything, but please, don't hand me any crap about progress, there isn't any unless we start living differently, which I am all for. You know everything that is manufactured or pkgd today for sales, isn't worth the money. Whatever was good and good quality, they have decided to make it even cheaper, so now it isn't even worth buying, wasted money. Let's get rid of all the quality in life, unless you are filthy rich, so you can buy top quality, whatever that might be, I haven't seen any quality anything lately. I have almost quit eating because of it. They put more money into the packaging than they do in the quality of the food. It tastes like crap, I refuse to eat it, anymore or buy it. I also don't buy anything that is made out of nothing, that I know won't last at all. I'm not wasting my money on it, since I have so little of it. Things have changed so dramatically now that sometimes I find myself saying I don't want to live on this planet anymore.People don't care about helping their neighbors or a stranger even. I understand that to a certain point, but not beyond that. I know there are huge amounts of people that do help others and let me applaud those certain groups of helpers, right now!
I'd like to see the option to allow the user (swap out - swap in) to replace the rear bumper unit with an extended shell containing a bio-diesel powered generator that would be used to recharge the batteries for longer trips, or allow it to be replace with the standard rear bumper unit for normal city driving / short trips. That way we could achieve the best of both worlds.
To say an electric car has a range of 200, 300, x miles is extremely misleading. After you've driven the stated range what are you going to do then?? Locate a charging station?? Ha! Then if you do, you wait from 2-8 hours for a full charge. It is meaningful to say an internal-combustion-powered car has a certain range because there is always a gas station at the other end (be careful of Hwy 50 in Nevada though). But The reality of electric cars at present is that you must divide the stated range by 2 for the true range. That's because you don't want to get more than range/2 miles away from home.
To say an electric car has a range of 200, 300, x miles is extremely misleading. After you've driven the stated range what are you going to do then?? Locate a charging station?? Ha! Then if you do, you wait from 2-8 hours for a full charge. It is meaningful to say an internal-combustion-powered car has a certain range because there is always a gas station at the other end (be careful of Hwy 50 in Nevada, however). The reality of electric cars at present is that you must divide the stated range by 2 for the true range. That's because you don't want to get more than range/2 miles away from home.
Not in my lifetime. You people seem to forget that literally millions of people live and work at jobs where electric vehicles have absolutely no viability. Keep smokin that Ganga.
2013 an eternity? Another example of the warped perspective of the instant gratification generation.
The problem isn't with the range (although 207 miles is not good enough, I would say 300 miles or so is where we will find people will be happy), but the real problem is how long it takes to fully recharge the batteries, it needs to take no longer that filling up with a tank of gas. Perhaps interchangeable batteries, that can be recharged within the car when convenient, otherwise a station could simply swap out for new fully charged batteries and send you on your way.
If they can do it, other car companies can do it also. They DON"T WANT TO! Their petroleum stock would plummet. Where is the hybrid diesel that gets 90mpg? If I can make one, they can but won't. Energy independence is a joke.
#4 mentions the problem with unsprung weight. The problem is really with the proportion of sprung/unsprung mass. Too little of the first will make this car ride like a flea on a dog's back. Rough roads will be very hard on the passengers and really hard on the wheel motors.
The major problem with these vehicles is the charging time. Living 400+ kms from the nearest City means that I would have to recharge on the way. Gas = 15 minutes, recharge = ? I suspect that this toy wold not be suitable for me. I made 3 round trips to that city and a 2000 + km trip to Toronto and Ottawa last month!
We pretty much need something that doesn't rely on a single drop of gasoline. We have a lot more hybrids on the road than we ever had, fewer SUVs and more fuel efficient cars on the road. And yet, it hasn't done a single thing to dent gasoline prices at the pumps. Makes me wonder how much supply actually affects prices in this case.
To eliminate gas-powered cars the COST of the vehicle will have to be affordable to the mainstream public and not just those with sufficient funds. Personally I would also like to see an onboard generator to extend the range even further than the 200 mile "tank" allows. We tour the country and "camp" exclusively. As such there are several times that we drive in excess of 100 miles away from our base and find no means fro recharging at our destination (parks, National monuments, and places of interest don't usually have facilities to accommodate a pure electric vehicle). The concept of this, however, is solid and will appeal to many with the funds to purchase it.
So much will depend on price. If it's really so simple, they ought to make it comparable in price or even cheaper compared to a similar sized gasoline vehicle.
By putting the motors on the wheels, you lower the center of gravity significantly. You also potentially lower the total weight, as there are not drive shafts. However, it would seem to significantly increase unsprung weight, which is a horrible thing for handling. You would eliminate the need for conventional brakes, I suppose (reducing a significant source of unsprung weight), but the motor components would have to be heavy. One big question is how well these motors will hold up, since they are not isolated from the pounding the wheels take on a normal vehicle. I'd love to see this succeed, though!
The in-hub motor sounds very similar in concept to the electric wheel motor built by GE to propel large dump trucks used in the mining industry. They were certainly very rugged and withstood the shocks of the roads and loads that they carried. The GE wheel motor was a lot more powerful, at about 800 HP, but it is the concept that counts and eliminating a drive train must improve efficiency. There will be other problems which only time will resolve, but meanwhile the ideas are flowing.
I hope in my life time to see gas guzzlers become a thing of the past.And electric car's getting to a price where the common person can afford.
Cost? The end of the road for ICEVs is reached when batteries become less expensive. And ranges up to a solid ~200 miles. In hub wheels certainly makes sense if active/electric motor shocks prove to be workable on very rough roads. This is not my idea of an attractive car, but by putting the motors in the hubs and the batteries in the bottom pan one ends up with a generic base to which any sort of body style could be attached on top. Imagine what might happen were a company to make the base/motors/battery unit available to other companies who wanted to specialize in body production.
You're mostly right here. Electric cars won't solve the world's problem because the amount of resources necessary to make and move them won't allow us to cut the 90% of our energy use that we must to keep from burning up the planet. And surely we don't burn enough lifestyle energy ourselves for our own health. But what you say almost implies a return to 19th century lifestyles and economics, not the stone age for sure, but a lot closer. The same technology and resources going into this 3000 lb. automobile could produce 10-20 e-bikes, trikes or quads and cut our energy use enough to make the Eaarth climate change. We'd have to slow down by roughly half but we'd still have human assisted personal transport that would be 3 times as fast as a horse or such. Get some exercise and save the planet, I say. e-cars won't do that.
Just taking a moment to thank you for your 2 posts countering with complex, real and truthful concepts the simplistic denialism of the fossil fools. It's a long row to hoe, but it won't be long before simple economics will help fuel the changeover.
You are right if the followings are true: 1. Gasoline engines inside our car today are 100% efficient in converting gasoline into mechanical energy. False, gasoline engine is less than 20% efficiency, the rest is wasted unburned or as heat. Large turbine generator at power planet are 3 times more efficient (60%) in converting gasoline into electricity, even assume a large transmission/transforming lost of 50%, you are still looking at 1.5 times the efficiency comparing to gasoline car engine. 2. Gasoline comes out of the ground where you live and refuel your car all without wasting any energy. False, we are wasting more and more energy just to explore and find oil and even when you find it, it require more energy to extract it, more energy to transport it, more energy to refine it and more energy to transport the refined product to your local gas station and guess what, more energy is wasted to run the gas station and to pump it into your gas engine car. And dont get me started on the energy required to produce motor oil, transmission fluids, etc that need to be changed and replenished forever. And how much energy does it take to recharge an electric vehicle? Nothing, other than the energy it takes you to plug in the charging cord (and unplug when done) and best of all, no more wasted time visiting gasoline and sometime even have to wait in line just to refuel, 10-15 minutes add up to over 10 hours in a year! 3. Source of electricity will not get greener (more renewable). False, gas engine vehicles can only get dirty (less efficient) as it gets older, but electricity are constantly getting greener with a higher mixture of renewable source of energy. Plus, solar panel will make more sense (higher return on investment) when you use more electricity (aka when you own a electric vehicle), thus accelerating the conversion to renewable energy. 4. Government needs to subsidize electricity. I dont know about you, but last time I checked the electricity utility are partially regulated but not subsidized by the government. On the other hand, I believe the government subsidize oil companies (tax and royalty break) to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars over the years, if they havent done that, we would be paying closer to $10/gallon in gas just as Japan or European counties do now. Out of 104 countries in the world, we are on the bottom 12 countries in term of the % we receive from oil revenue. And despite this inequality, in California with some of the highest electricity rate in the nation, we are still only paying about 15-cent per kwh, which translate to $4.50 for 100 miles of driving, gas price is about $4.50 for a gallon and even if you have the highest mileage Prius, you are still paying twice as much for gas to drive the same 100 miles not to mention you are also saving money on maintenance cost, no motor, transmission oil changes, no tune-up, no air filter/oil filter/fuel filter
We have friends who are all 6'5"+. It seems that the ugliest, boxiest SCION (Sorry, but I don't know its name), fits them all quite comfortably, even in the back seat.
Being 6'4", I too am forced to drive trucks or motorcycles. I prefer the Motorcycle, not only does it have leg and head room, it also has the benefit of 40+ mpg. I would love to drive a Civic Hybrid, but there isn't a shoe-horn big enough to get all 250lbs of me in one without having my knees in my face the whole time.