Wheel hub motor concept drives hybrid progress at MTSU

Jul 24, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Wheel hub motor concept drives hybrid progress at MTSU
Jay Perry views the rotor he has removed from the stator, which is attached to the axle bearings. In the entire process, nothing alters the car'€™s bearings, brakes or suspension.

(Phys.org) -- When news broke in 2009 that a former IBM engineer had devised a kit that turns any car into a plug-in hybrid for between $3,000 and $5,000, those interested in going-green technologies took notice and hoped it was more than just a concept. This month, Dr. Charles Perry and his team at Middle Tennessee State University, where he is now a professor, have something to show for the work that has been under way since 2008. Earlier this week, a school news release announced that Perry and team saw gas mileage increase anywhere from 50 to 100 percent on a 1994 Honda station wagon retrofitted with their laboratory prototype plug-in hybrid capability. This is a wheel-hub motor, plug in hybrid kit.

The key element in this gas-saving kit are electric motors in each rear wheel and a large , which is also mounted in the rear of the vehicle. The very point of the exercise, said Perry, now a professor in the engineering technology department of the school, has been to demonstrate the feasibility of adding an electrical motor to the rear wheel of the car without changing brakes, bearings, suspension —“anything mechanical.”

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Plug-in Hybrid Retrofit Kit. Video: MTSU

A member of his team sees the wheel-hub motor as an innovative technology that one can take and bolt on a car. “When people see that, their eyes light up. They think it might cost a lot of money and are surprised when you tell them it might be $3,000.”

The student team helping Perry have a range of capabilities that have supported the project, including specialties in mechanical design, electrical design, programming, computer numerical-control machining and finite-elements analysis modeling.

As lithium-battery technology improves, Perry said, the battery size can be reduced in production models. As a former IBM engineer he is no stranger to the challenges in bringing something out of a research lab and into a showroom, Perry is talking with several potential investors. He wants to use the funding to build and demonstrate a manufacturing version of this plug-in hybrid technology.

Wheel hub motor concept drives hybrid progress at MTSU
The plug-in hybrid retrofit kit is applied to a vehicle'€™s rear wheels. After switching on the traction motors, gas mileage can increase 50 to 100 percent.

He and the team have reached the proof of concept stage to prove feasibility, he said, and with enough funding they can deliver proof of product. Investors, he noted, will want to see proven field-tested performance and reliability.

Perry said a manufacturing partner has stepped forward and will accompany him to anticipated upcoming presentations.

This would certainly not be the first or last attempt to work up a suitable retrofit kit as interest grows in hybrids. In 2008, the UK-based Motor Industry Research Association, an automotive design, development and certification consultancy, unveiled a plug-in hybrid retrofit system. The kit, they said at the time, had the potential to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions by 39 percent, and they applied it in a demo vehicle with removable lithium-ion phosphate battery pack. They built the demo with funding from the Energy Saving Trust’s Low Carbon R&D program.

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More information:
Press release

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User comments : 40

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Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (27) Jul 24, 2012
How dare these filthy Liberal/Communists take steps to reduce oil consumption. How dare they.

We must stop them before they succeed.
perrycomo
1.9 / 5 (23) Jul 24, 2012
at Vendicar Decarian . . don't be so agitated . Nothing will change , they need a lot of fossil fuels to charge the batteries . And people will make more miles too , because they think it is cheap .lol. So nothing changes .
Parsec
3.4 / 5 (18) Jul 24, 2012
How dare these filthy Liberal/Communists take steps to reduce oil consumption. How dare they.

We must stop them before they succeed.


lol... I appreciate the sarcasm and dry wit. Your killin me bro...
dschlink
3 / 5 (6) Jul 24, 2012
Not so, PC. A hybrid of this type charges the battery by recovering energy normally lost by braking. Also, at least in the USA, people are driving less. This trend has continued even when gas prices drop.

If I could add a system like this to my rear-wheel drive van, I'd do it tomorrow. I'd love to have a 4x4.
Telekinetic
2.6 / 5 (19) Jul 24, 2012
There was another clever power-assisting device years ago that would convert waste heat from the engine to turn a motor attached to a car's transaxle, claiming another 40% increase in efficiency. Waste heat is the most overlooked recoverable energy source aside from regenerative braking.
NotParker
1.6 / 5 (14) Jul 24, 2012
Not so, PC. A hybrid of this type charges the battery by recovering energy normally lost by braking.


They say it is a plug-in hybrid.

freethinking
1.6 / 5 (33) Jul 24, 2012
Now since it is a protype it only costs $3000. Once it goes to government motors, a union guy looks at it, then once they can figure out how to make it more expensive, they give it to a government regulator, who then decides it needs more changes to make it more expensive, then it goes to Obama's EPA head who see that gas is still used and put additional regulations on its use because even though it is now $100,000.00, it is still cheaper than the volt. Then it goes to Obama, he sees that it might generate a thousand good paying American jobs, so he writes an executive order banning its use in the United States and gives the technology to Iran so they won't build a nuclear bomb, which it then does anyway. The Progressive media Hails Obama's wisdom, kiss his feet, blame republicans that 1000 people didn't get a job, then proclaim they are unbiased. Everyone is happy.
Shootist
2.6 / 5 (17) Jul 24, 2012
How much unsprung weight does this mod add? Such things very much effect the handling of a vehicle.
Shootist
2 / 5 (25) Jul 24, 2012
How dare these filthy Liberal/Communists take steps to reduce oil consumption. How dare they.

We must stop them before they succeed.


Mainly because it is unnecessary. Secondly because much of the development money goes to algore crony capitalists.

Say it slowly Solyndra . . . Sol yn dra. There, that's it. Crony capitalists, by any other name.

ormondotvos
3.5 / 5 (13) Jul 24, 2012
Freethinker. You get what you pay for, eh? No one wants to pay you for thinking. Wonder why?

Plug-in means you can ALSO charge the battery with outside means. The wheel hub motors are to capture kinetic energy that would usually be lost in braking. Duh. Shut up if you don't know what you're talking about.
KingDWS
4.8 / 5 (5) Jul 24, 2012
Interesting project in that it could genuinely do something now with the cars on the road. Any vehicle could bolt the system on. For around town driving it would really do something and you wouldn't give up the ability to gas and go. There are well known issues with hub motors such as unsprung weight (when you drive it feels like bad shocks)but since this isn't a main system they could make some compromises and reduce that effect. One thing I would be curious about is how much it's emf would effect the various sensors near the hubs. Some green tech that actually would make a difference in my lifetime! Whoda thunk it ;-]
RazorsEdge
2.1 / 5 (10) Jul 24, 2012
The video makes it clear that its strictly for generation of traction. Any braking regeneration would violate the "bolt-on" simplicity. Increase of mileage (<40 mph only BTW) is at a cost of KWHs that I pay for on a punitive rate scale.
Telekinetic
2.5 / 5 (16) Jul 24, 2012
The video makes it clear that its strictly for generation of traction. Any braking regeneration would violate the "bolt-on" simplicity. Increase of mileage (<40 mph only BTW) is at a cost of KWHs that I pay for on a punitive rate scale.

These electric motors can be both motor and generator if wired for that purpose. It would not, in any way, interfere with its bolt-on simplicity- it would only increase its efficiency.
RazorsEdge
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 24, 2012
The video makes it clear that its strictly for generation of traction. Any braking regeneration would violate the "bolt-on" simplicity. Increase of mileage (<40 mph only BTW) is at a cost of KWHs that I pay for on a punitive rate scale.

These electric motors can be both motor and generator if wired for that purpose. It would not, in any way, interfere with its bolt-on simplicity- it would only increase its efficiency.


Can-be doesn't mean will-be. You have to add sensors to the brake pedal to determine how fast the driver wants to slow down. It's also a rear-wheel only system. Have fun integrating with an ABS system while keeping it bolt-on simple.
Skepticus
2.2 / 5 (13) Jul 24, 2012
Have anyone noticed that the stator is built around a drum brake? How many cars, apart from old clunkers, have drum drakes these days? I'd like to see how they deal with disc brake hubs - spare spaces is a premium on those.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1 / 5 (8) Jul 24, 2012
wheel hub motors deteriorate rapidly from vibration and general shock. particularly with heavy vehicles travelling fast.

they work on bicycles and even then, the maintenance is fairly intensive relative to electric motors not in the wheel.
wealthychef
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 24, 2012
It seems to be that you naysayers are missing the point, which is not to increase gas mileage or really achieve a practical goal yet -- it's proof of concept. Quote: The very point of the exercise, said Perry, now a professor in the engineering technology department of the school, has been to demonstrate the feasibility of adding an electrical motor to the rear wheel of the car without changing brakes, bearings, suspension anything mechanical.
StillWind
1.3 / 5 (14) Jul 25, 2012
I'm just wondering where all you Nancies have been living? We've had this tech for quite some time, and the companies that are actually doing it, are way ahead of this.
BTW, this system does not offer regenerative braking, but will act as a generator when the wheels are turning. That's not the same thing, and will actually be an incredibly inefficient way to charge batteries, that are also inefficient. Of course, I expect the same dupes that believe that a Brown's Gas generator is going to give a vehicle better mileage will be all over this.
Clearly none of you guys are engineers.
Bad design all the way around, but typical for academia.
I'm sure they'll get all the grant money that they want.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2012
How much unsprung weight does this mod add?

since they claim it's designed so that you don't have to change bearings or suspension I'd hazard that it's well within tolerable limits (unless you do a lot of off road - which most of us don't. Even those with off road vehicles.)

A hybrid of this type charges the battery by recovering energy normally lost by braking

Brake energy is very, very minimal. Think of how often you apply your brakes. If you're a circumspect/mileage aware driver then you use them hardly at all. The recovery systems in place today are barely worth it (considering that they are an extra system than can also break down. So while they do extend range a little bit, the actual cost savings of having them is dubitable).
ScottyB
3 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2012
Does this only fit on car's with Drum breaks at the back? What if your car has callipers?
antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2012
Does this only fit on car's with Drum breaks at the back? What if your car has callipers?


Proof of concept means one car of one make from one automaker.
Proof of product is where these questions will be addressed (or they'll just limit themselves to certain makes of cars).

Asking these kinds of questions is way too early.
ScottyB
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2012
Thank you for that Fine answer...
packrat
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 25, 2012
I think they should talk to the washing machine company that has been using this basic design for years now. It wouldn't be all that difficult to convert this design to work with disk brakes. It would make the hub a bit longer but it could still work just the same.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (9) Jul 25, 2012
*sniped quotes*
Proof of concept ...
Proof of product...
Asking these kinds of questions is way too early.

There are plenty of similar disc/drum type motors in washing machines, hard disk drives, etc. $10,000 for a dozen motors of different makes and designs, 12 months of looking at, taking apart, tinkering, reassembling, modifying or designing similar ones to fit the confined space of drums and disc brakes. Patent royalties perhaps would be unavoidable, because there are only limited, proven number of ways to arrange multipoles for a flat, compact motor, which had been done to death over the years. So, please someone explain how 4 years (208-2011) was spent to come up with just a proof-of-concept setup, to accommodate obsolete drum brakes, on a specific model, and no show for a suitable setup for disc-brake? How much of that 4 years was actually time spent pulling-the-hair-out, hands-dirty work? After hours after lectures, perhaps?
Skepticus
1 / 5 (8) Jul 25, 2012
How much unsprung weight does this mod add?

since they claim it's designed so that you don't have to change bearings or suspension I'd hazard that it's well within tolerable limits..

I'd hazard differently. No change in bearings and suspension added weight of motors=completely different response. And, tolerable limits of which and what? suspension responses, damping? What was the baseline?
Brake energy is very, very minimal...The recovery systems in place today are barely worth it ...

P.A, please! Conservation of energy. If the motor-generator is called upon to shed the a huge portion of kinetic energy by transform it to electricity for storage with minimum downstream impedance, the mo-gen will bog down and *brake* real hard. If you can control the impedance (e.g with super capacitor-type storage), you can dictate how hard the braking effect will be.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (8) Jul 25, 2012
..And on a side note: How do these motors fare when flooded???
Sonhouse
1 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2012
But what is the bottom line here? How many HP are these mogens? How much energy can they recover in KW or KWHr? How much did it increase the gas mileage? How far can you drive if your main engine dies? Can it run the car at all using just the mogen?
C_elegans
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2012
Skepticus - Much of the weight is added in the wheels, which function below the suspension. Only the battery weight should affect the ride.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2012
If the motor-generator is called upon to shed the a huge portion of kinetic energy by transform it to electricity for storage with minimum downstream impedance, the mo-gen will bog down and *brake* real hard

Yes. But how often do you need to brake real hard? If you're even an average driver: never.
The massively overwhelming part of energy is not lost due to braking - it's lost due to you just rolling on the road. Using braking energy is like using lightning strikes for power generation: sure they ahve a lot of POWER - but since the duration is very short and they are very infrequent the ENERGY you get out of them (as compared to the energy you're using overall) is minimal.

...completely different response

How 'responsive' does the average vehicle have to be? City driving (or even highways) don't put a strain on the responsiveness (or the shocks) at all. At those speeds you probably won't even fel a difference (if you do get carbon rims). We're not talking racecars here
aironeous
not rated yet Jul 28, 2012
Brace yourself for all the "OMG this is a bad idea that doesn't work people" comments.
aironeous
4 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2012
Now since it is a protype it only costs $3000. Once it goes to government motors, a union guy looks at it, then once they can figure out how to make it more expensive, they give it to a government regulator, who then decides it needs more changes to make it more expensive, then it goes to Obama's EPA head who see that gas is still used and put additional regulations on its use because even though it is now $100,000.00, it is still cheaper than the volt. Then it goes to Obama, he sees that it might generate a thousand good paying American jobs, so he writes an executive order banning its use in the United States and gives the technology to Iran so they won't build a nuclear bomb, which it then does anyway. The Progressive media Hails Obama's wisdom, kiss his feet, blame republicans that 1000 people didn't get a job, then proclaim they are unbiased. Everyone is happy.


When did it become Obamas EPA?
aironeous
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2012
How dare these filthy Liberal/Communists take steps to reduce oil consumption. How dare they.

We must stop them before they succeed.


Mainly because it is unnecessary. Secondly because much of the development money goes to algore crony capitalists.

Say it slowly Solyndra . . . Sol yn dra. There, that's it. Crony capitalists, by any other name.



Say it slowly Chi Na
They are subsidizing their solar panel manufacturers that are operating at a loss so they can take over the US solar panel market and drive all of the ones here out of business. Once they do they will raise the prices. That was a very big factor in causing Solyndra to fail.
Say it slowly COMM U NISM
Say it slowly trade war
Having options is good.
Stop trying to hide your hatred/dislike of the race of the president by trying to disguise it as other things.
aironeous
not rated yet Jul 28, 2012
wheel hub motors deteriorate rapidly from vibration and general shock. particularly with heavy vehicles travelling fast.

they work on bicycles and even then, the maintenance is fairly intensive relative to electric motors not in the wheel.

Really? Have you done a survey of Bionx owners?
packrat
1 / 5 (6) Jul 28, 2012
wheel hub motors deteriorate rapidly from vibration and general shock. particularly with heavy vehicles travelling fast.

they work on bicycles and even then, the maintenance is fairly intensive relative to electric motors not in the wheel.

Really? Have you done a survey of Bionx owners?


Or just about any of the better bike motor companies. There is almost no maintenance required on bike hub motors unless it breaks or something. They are pretty tough units.
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (11) Jul 28, 2012
I don't think the issue is with the hubs. Lithium-ion batteries are quite dangerous. If they aren't kept within a specific temperature range they can explode or deteriorate rapidly.

http://www.dailyt...id=25210
pubwvj
1 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2012
Have anyone noticed that the stator is built around a drum brake? How many cars, apart from old clunkers, have drum drakes these days? I'd like to see how they deal with disc brake hubs - spare spaces is a premium on those.


Our van has drum breaks. It's not an old clunker. All five of our previous vehicles over the past 20 years had drum breaks too. Some of those would now be considered old clunkers but your logic is refutable.
The Singularity
1 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2012
I like the idea of hub motors but if America adopted roundabouts instead of traffic lights every 200yds you would instantly save thousands of tons of co2 & improve mpg's of millions of vehicles.

I hope he gets it to market soon or he will miss the boat.
Pattern_chaser
not rated yet Jul 30, 2012
Jeddy Mctedder said "wheel hub motors deteriorate rapidly from vibration and general shock. particularly with heavy vehicles travelling fast." The designers of the Jaguar C-X75 will be very disappointed to hear that. ;-)
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) Jul 31, 2012
Lithium-ion batteries are quite dangerous.
That was a specific manufacturer defect. I could say the same thing about your Ford Pintos.
barakn
3 / 5 (2) Sep 17, 2012
The video makes it clear that its strictly for generation of traction. Any braking regeneration would violate the "bolt-on" simplicity. Increase of mileage (<40 mph only BTW) is at a cost of KWHs that I pay for on a punitive rate scale.
The video makes it clear that they call it a traction motor simply because it provides less power to the back wheels than the engine provides to the front wheels, and it most certainly does generate power regeneratively.