206 EV Miles On A Single Charge With A SIMple Solution

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
206 ev miles on a single charge with a simple solution

“The biggest problem” that faces widespread adoption of electric vehicles, “is striking a balance between performance and price.” The man who said that, Hiroshi Shimizu, thinks he has the solution to this problem. It is not generous subsidies. It is not miracle batteries. It is a technology his company has been developing over many years: In-wheel electric motors. Shimizu’s company , “SIM-Drive Corp. a Keio University-linked venture company, on Wednesday unveiled a prototype of its SIM-LEI electric vehicle that can travel up to 333 kilometers (206 miles) on a single battery charge,” writes Japan’s Jiji Press.

The “LEI” has nothing to do with Hawaiian flower necklaces. It stands for Leading Efficiency In-Wheel motor, says the Kawasaki-based company. Powered by a 24.5 kWh battery, pretty much the same as the Nissan Leaf, the 4-seater achieved “333km of range per charge by JC-08 mode, which represents general urban traffic condition in Japan,” says the company. Unusual is the acceleration: 4.8 seconds for 0 to 100 km/h, not quite a Veyron, but better that a Porsche 993 Carrera RS 3.8.

SIM’s in-wheel engines can be retrofitted to existing cars, an operation that should be as simple as changing tires (it probably won’t be.) For purpose-built cars, the in-wheel motors allow for a simple body structure, a lot of space, and stable running.

I know, by now you are racking your brain: “Hiroshi Shimizu, Hiroshi Shimizu, didn’t I hear that name before?” You did. He’s the man behind the 8-wheeled 370 km/h (230 mph) Eliica that also used SIM-drive electric hub motors. Keio is a Tokyo elite university. Hiroshi Shimizu is a professor at the school.

(Hold your comments of the design of the car. SIM intends to sell the technology, not the body.)

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 22, 2011

    I believe Bill Lear's last project in the 1970s was to put in-wheel motors on a bus. He thought a small diesel motor tuned for maximum efficiency matched to a bank of batteries would run a bus with much greater fuel efficiency than a conventional drivetrain. He ran into huge problems and died before those problems were solved. His heirs then pulled the plug on the project. I know one problem was durability of the in-wheel motor setup he was using, but there were other problems. Does anyone know or have heard heard of the other technical glitches Lear ran into? It was my understanding that with Lear's track record, his efforts were being closely watched, especially by GM.

  • Rem83 Rem83 on May 23, 2011

    Hrm, I was under the impression that the typical ICE car has ~20% drivetrain losses, and that's with a torque converter, big transmission with loads of viscous drag and friction, differential and halfshafts, each with 2 cv-joints. I have a hard time seeing a car like the leaf or the volt having more than 15% drive-train loss, so doubling the range of a leaf seems like it'd take a lot more than just drive-train efficiency increase.

    • M 1 M 1 on May 24, 2011

      Most ICE drivetrains are closer to the 12% range or thereabouts and you won't see a huge variation between manual and autotragic (surprisingly). In the world of motorsports where you're talking about power numbers and dynos and all that, 12% is a figure that won't ever get you laughed out of the room or branded a snake-oil salesman. The worst of the worst are maybe 15%.

  • Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
  • Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.