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Dongfeng claims the world’s first passenger car with an in-wheel engine

Chinese automaker Dongfeng has launched a production model with an in-wheel motor from supplier Protean Electric.

In the press release, Protean claims the Dongfeng Fengshen E70 is “the world’s first fully identical passenger car” powered by two ProteanDrive engines. An internal motor normally drives the front wheels, while in-wheel motors power the rear wheels, allowing for all-wheel drive. Each motor at the rear makes 104 horsepower and 922 pound-feet of torque.

Voyah Zhuiguang

Voyah Zhuiguang

According to Protean, Dongfeng has found that this configuration is lighter than a conventional all-wheel drive EV setup. The companies also claim 50% more cargo space, 42% faster 0-100 km/h times and 18% higher cornering speeds thanks to the engine’s torque vectoring capabilities in wheel. The Protean also claims increased efficiency and 83 fewer parts over the equivalent inboard engine setup.

According to Protean, the first batch of Dongfeng Fengshen E70 sedan is being “tested” in China. Dongfeng has also revealed a second model with an in-wheel engine, the Voyah Zhuiguang, a luxury sedan from the company’s Voyah brand.

Lightyear 0 . wind tunnel test

Lightyear 0 . wind tunnel test

There has been a lot of interest in in-wheel motors but so far the amount of use has been relatively low. Lightyear claims its zero has Most efficient production drivetrain in the world but it has been phased out of production. Lordstown Endurance also uses them, but the production of that vehicle has also slowed down. Those leaves Apteraalso plans to use an in-wheel motor for its tricycle—though this will be a motorcycle, not a passenger vehicle.

Which says, mass production in-wheel motor for cars have been on the horizon for a while. And maybe racing technology—and the threat of a newcomer from China—will help get them there.


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