back to article Michelin strikes key 'e-wheel' deal

If the future of the 'leccy car is going to be built on in-wheel motors, it's looking more likely to be a case of Vive le France than Rule Britannia. French auto engineering group Valeo and equally French tyre manufacturer Michelin have announced an agreement to “co-ordinate the development of electric and rechargeable hybrid …


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  1. Jimmy Floyd
    Paris Hilton

    Pedant? Moi?

    Actually it's "Vive LA France" - not "le" - the French republic being regarded as a feminine article. And why not...?

    Paris. Can't think why.

  2. Jon


    Is having independant drive to left and right wheels safe? What happens when one motor breaks as all things do, it will drive you into the crash barrier 70mph?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unsprung weight

    Unsprung weight?

    Will this not make some crap handling cars?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "it maybe a Germany company"

    I certainly hope it is, because when it comes to cars, frogs and electrics just don't mix!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Have you heard of the Siemens 'eCorner'

    No neither had I...


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Michelin's in-wheel motors are not unique, of course."


    Ferdinand Porsche was building cars with in-wheel motors at the beginning of the 20th century. His "System Mixt" comprised a set of batteries to drive the electrics and a petrol engine to recharge them on the run - reminiscent of anything? That ws in 1901...

  7. fifi

    unsprung weight?

    One of the key components of making a car handle, and ride comfortably is lowering the unsprung weight to ensure the tyre stays in contact with the road as much as possible. I wonder how much mass this system adds to each wheel, and how it affects the ride and handling.

  8. s
    Thumb Up

    Now this is more like it

    I don't want to see an electric car with a drivetrain, simply chopping out the noisey, messy, dirty, wonderful internal combustion engine and replacing with an oversized starter motor.

    I want to see companies doing what they can to really revolutionise the industry with inovative ideas to push forward design, comfort, practicality and easy of use.

    Imagine a F430 with no Ferrari engine, but a ferrari electric motor where it should be... What do you gain from the car? Nothing... 1 large motor, same gearbox etc with the same loses and you have to find somewhere for the batteries - and cope with the extra weight.

    Now think of the same car with these wheels... Suddenly you have this large engine bay that can be used for something more useful - and you lose all of the inefficiencies of the drive train. The power you have in your engines is the power you have full stop. With permanent 4WD (25% of the power at each corner if you have matching electric motors)

    Can't wait to see where designers go with this... (But am so going to mourn the passing of the internal combustion engine when it goes :( )

  9. John R. Macdonald

    Le la le la

    Quick course on some pitfalls of the French language:

    La France refers to the country.

    Le France refers to the ship of the same name (i.e. le navire France).


  10. TeeCee Gold badge


    French electrics x 8, exposed to the elements.

    Can anyone else see the flaw in this otherwise cunning plan?

    Stop, because it will. Frequently. Especially if it rains.

  11. Diccon

    @unsprung weight

    The clever bit of this design is the fact that it includes suspension - thus lessening the impact on unsprung weight.

    Their prototype had a unsprung weight of 77lb on the drive axles which compares well with at Renault Clio which comes in at 84lb

  12. nobby

    sorry dear, clipped the curb

    So - now instead of a new steel spinner and a lump o' rubber when you Clip The Curb With Enthusiasm you'll need to replace five grand of motor and suspension too. Great. Just what we needed.

  13. Lionel Baden


    Nah wont go madly out fo control into a barrier !

    even if only 3 wheels are still driving you should easily be able to control the car (if not please hold the steering wheel with hands(claw) )

    and anyway they would easily stick the proggies into it to put power where and when u need it

    As for french motors being all bad !!

    Common What abou thte 2CV and DS

    DS was well before its time

    But agree about unsprung weight but from the picture it isnt clear as top wether the motors are mounted before the suspension or not

  14. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    RE: TeeCee

    Couldn't agree more. Once had a Pug 205GTI - lovely when it worked but that wasn't often, and the problems were usually the electrics. A friend had an even worse time with a Citroen that used to lose hydraulics regularly, usually at speed on the motorway so the first thing you knew about it was when you braked and nothing happened. Most annoyingly, the Citroen had an equally unreliable bit of electrickery that was supposed to tell you when the hydraulics had done a Weygand, only that never worked either. Having recently suffered the appalling build quality and awful design of a brand new Citroen Vias courtesy of Hertz there is no way I would ever want a French car again. Let the Germans build the things, let Michelin stick to tyres (my pref is Pirelli anyway, and not just becasue of the calendar).

  15. Peyton

    I'm sure this simplifies overall maintenance

    But I wonder if hitting a pothole in a car with these would equate to major repairs :\

  16. Chris C

    re: Safe!

    "Is having independant drive to left and right wheels safe? What happens when one motor breaks as all things do, it will drive you into the crash barrier 70mph?"

    So you still use a non-vehicle form of transportation then? Perhaps horse and buggy? Motor vehicles have had independent drives to the left and right wheels for a long time. It's just been done via mechanical means of splitting the engine's torque instead of a motor on each wheel. How do you think your auto can corner on such a tight radius? Hint: it's by applying more "drive" to the outside wheel.

    But since you're concerned, allow me to use your own question in relation to non-electric cars: "Is having a driveshift-and-differential-operated vehicle safe? What happens when an axle breaks as all things do, it will drive you into the crash barrier 70mph?" And yes, axles do break. Just ask my cousin who managed to snap the rear axle on his Jeep Wrangler.

  17. Eddy Ito

    @ Chris C

    If a drive axle breaks power to the ground is lost unless you have a limited slip differential. An open differential will simply spin the broken side twice as fast and not turn the good side at all. This is why vehicles with open diffs get stuck more easily. That said, with traction control being all the rage it hardly makes a difference any more, unless breaking an axle also breaks the traction control scheme of course.

  18. Chris C

    @Eddy Ito

    Perhaps I should have been more clear in my post. My comment, which was in response to the first comment ("Safe!"), was an attempt to point out that the failure of one wheel to receive power in an electric "use separate in-wheel motors to drive each wheel independently" vehicle is no more dangerous than the failure of one wheel to receive power in today's "use a drivetrain and differentials to split the power from one engine to drive each wheel independently" vehicle.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    PML Rises Again?

    Bit disturbed to find that PML are out of administration with the same crew at the helm, those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it. A wheel is a very vulnerable place to mount a load of motors and bits and pieces, kerbing, the great British pothole and so on will soon do for it and as others have pointed out the repairs will be expensive. Then there is the issue of unsprung weight.

    I understood PML were designing for Golf carts, fastest vehicle suitable for in-wheel technology.

  20. aery


    i love this post........

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