We reported almost a year ago that Nissan were “really seriously testing” in-wheel electric motors for the new-generation of electric-powered cars. The automaker's global design chief Shiro Nakamura has again confirmed this during an interview with Motor Authority at the recent Detroit Auto Show.
“It's not just at the concept level...We are making serious progress with in-wheel motors; cost is becoming less of an issue, and at a certain point we would like to use in-wheel motors.”
While Nissan's BladeGlider EV concept has in-wheel motors on the rear axle, Nakamura admitted that Bladeglider has some design attributes (like its narrow front track) that might prove insurmountable for a global product—especially with respect to safety—and that any production car would likely have to be wider in front.
He suggests the ESFLOW EV concept, which from behind looks alot like the Bladegliber and at first glance could easily be mistaken for a 380Z, could be a production direction.
The ESFLOW concept presented at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show was said to have a cruising range on one charge of 240 kilometer (150 mile) and was rear-wheel drive powered by two motors that where placed above the axis of the rear wheels, in a mid-ship position.
These motors independently control the left and right wheels, and so the torque is optimized to ensure outstanding vehicle stability and control as well as efficient power regeneration. The motors produce enough torque in an instant for the ESFLOW to reach 100 kph in under 5 seconds.