Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Next Car

tying in with my last post...
  [vote for,

I propose a new car, one designed to run without the need for moving parts within its body (except the shocks, I can't think how to make them not move).

I have done some initial research, and in order to do this (levitate the car axle within the wheel, and use a magnetic drive system) we would need only a very acceptable amount of power.

There are four concepts at work here:

1. The car can be levitated using an electromagnetic axle or bearing, using only a kilowatt per ton of car (keep in mind that this is spread out over the four wheels). I got that quote from Kingsbury Inc., an industrial magnetics company.

2. Within the wheel, attached to the axle, would be a bearing or disc, with rings of electromagnets around it. A charge could be run around the axle, which could push (and pull?) the wheel. This disc would be encased by the wheel itself, and the disc would reach out to the very outermost part of the wheel, allowing for the maximum torque possible with a car's wheels (the driving magnets would be mounted at the out edge of the disc). Since the disc would be attached to the levitated axle, there would be no contact between the car and it's wheels, thereby eliminating friction (yeah I know that doesn't do too much, but look at #3). I wanted to know whether the drive system was possible, so I checked how much power a Prius uses. 50 kw. I assume that the remaining 46+ kw (after the levitation has been accounted for) would be enough power to move a car wheel.

3. By eliminating the need for a conventional motor, a transmission, and just about everything else gas-related in a car, a lot of weight could be lost from the car. While some of this would be gained back in batteries, I expect that there would be a net loss of weight.

4. All co-ordination of the magnetic drive and levitation systems could be handled by computers, allowing for a fully customizable drive system (think about racing where you can control each wheel independently!)

I am looking for input for the further development of this idea. If you think something doesn't work, tell me why, and how you think I should change it.

trimothien, Feb 02 2007

MaglevLA Wheel MaglevLA_20Wheel
[BJS, Feb 03 2007]


       In-wheel electric motors are nothing new for cars (Porsche tried this around the turn of the century), but I'm not sure if these magnetic bearings would work very well. Imagine if you hit a big pothole: the wheel might come off completely, or at least bang into the "bearings" or magnets, causing all kinds of breaking and scraping metal. If you can find a way for the car to roll with no power to the bearings, then this wouldn't be a problem. And you really need to consider whether that 1 kW needed to suspend the vehicle would cut the drag by 1 kW; if not, then this system is not worth it.   

       I beleive that the 50 kW you quoted is only that generated by the electric motor in the Prius, since that is only about 67 horsepower. The internal combustion engine provides the rest of the power. It's definately possible to run a car on 67 horsepower, but I would rather have at least 160 or so (119 kW), especially with all those big heavy batteries to haul around.
discontinuuity, Feb 02 2007

       Well, if each wheel had its own 67 horse power motor, then the car would have 268 total horse power.
BJS, Feb 03 2007

       Just wanted to point out that the Maglev Wheel thing is similar...just not the same. This guy used 'rare earth-type magnets' and some kind of 'linear actuator': I'm thinking of an electromagnetic design. Also, notice I said that a bearing type design could be used...a 'ball' in the center rather than a 't=shaped' thingy. (the disk is like his idea) But it is true, the idea is along the same lines. Also, I want to incorporate steering.
trimothien, Feb 03 2007

       They make magnetic bearing that adjust for jolting they use them in power storing flywheels. I don't find much of an invention here though I think all of your weight reducing design changes are already in use .
pydor, Feb 06 2007


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