In-wheel electric motors developed by the Tecnalia Foundation have been performing much better than estimates before testing suggested they would — with power being 50% to 60% higher than expected — according to recent reports.
As the online translation service that I used for this hasn’t provided a great translation, and I’m not a native speaker, I think that it’s probably best to just go ahead and post some direct excerpts here (original can be found here):
EUNICE is a European initiative which counts among the companies related to the Spanish Tecnalia. They have developed a prototype that has been tested this past winter during times of extreme to climatological level.
According to Alberto Peña, the Tecnalia Foundation, thanks to the integration of the engine in the wheels has improved the performance of the same. The power has been between 50% and 60% higher than estimated at first. More power in less space, one of the main features of in-wheel motor.
The first prototype used for testing has been a FIAT Punto has seen its gasoline propulsion system with 120 horsepower, it has been replaced by an electric one. Two engines of 26 kW each, for a total of 52 kW (71 horsepower). According to initial tests, the difference in performance between the model gasoline and electric version has been minimal. Acceleration to 100 km/hour was 9.3 seconds for the gasoline, and 9.31 for power. Meanwhile acceleration to 1,000 metrosha been 31.8 seconds for gasoline, and 32.2 for the electric version. And that despite having 41% less power in the case of electric motors.
In-wheel electric motors would of course allow for significantly improved interior and/or storage space in most vehicles — providing a fair bit of incentive to companies to pursue such a technology (if it can be done economically). Another possible advantage is decreased cooling needs.