New In-Wheel Electric Motors Offer Adaptive, Modular Designs for Self-Driving Car Manufacturing


Since 2003, the Slovenia-based company Elaphe Propulsion Technologies has manufactured in-wheel propulsion systems powered by electricity. Recently, the company introduced modular components designed for autonomous vehicles.

Their modular components are a part of the Elaphe Mobility Platform and run the company's electromagnetic topology that allows desirable properties in an in-wheel electric motor, such as high torque capability, ultra-low active weight, and high efficiency of at least 90 percent. In addition to that, the platforms have effective cooling mechanisms and low manufacturing costs.

The components of each in-wheel electric motor have designs that match the production capabilities of customers. Manufacturing methods like aluminum casting technologies, laser welding and cutting, and waterjet cutting can be applied to the components.

The entire Elaphe Platform works with autonomous cars through the following individual sections:

- Propulsion Control Unit: The component responsible for the mechanical power of the electric motor. The PCU controls the motors based on the amount of gathered data. According to the patented topology, one PCU can serve a standard-sized car.

- Inverter Unit: The inverters regulate the torque of the motor and the speed of the vehicle. However, the required speed is based on the signal delivered by the PCU. In a standard car, about four inverters are installed, two at the front wheels and two at the rear wheels.

- HV Box: A high-voltage distribution box is typically located at the rear wheels, near the inverters. This unit holds the parts for power distribution including fuses and contactors.

- Dashboard: Three dashboards, one at the vehicle’s console and two at the back of the front seats, show all the vehicle data and controls on how to configure the car’s behavior.

The mobility platform of the company can adapt to the manufacturing designs of firms that plan to produce self-driving vehicles. At the moment, the topology confirms support on cars and it is unknown when will it be applicable for larger vehicles.

“Another reason for which I’m looking forward to your contribution is this country’s clean-tech spirit. It is quite remarkable how a country so small can be so innovative, creating so many business opportunities within the energy transition,” said Maroš Šefčovič in a transport and energy conference, TEN-T Days.