DARPA unveils ‘extreme’ in-hub electric motors for vehicles with military applications

The military has often led the development of technologies for defense and warfare, but it hasn’t so much been the case for electric vehicles. Lately, the US military has made some significant investments in EVs and they started showcasing some of their work.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently unveiled ‘extreme’ in-hub electric motors for vehicles with military applications.

DARPA described the technology in a press release:

“Putting motors directly inside the wheels offers numerous potential benefits for combat vehicles, such as heightened acceleration and maneuverability with optimal torque, traction, power, and speed over rough or smooth terrain. In an earlier demonstration, QinetiQ demonstrated a unique approach, incorporating three gear stages and a complex thermal management design into a system small enough to fit a standard military 20-inch rim.”

They are talking about in-hub 100 kW electric motors with 3 gear stages in a thermal management system all in one wheel:

The electric vehicle tech starts at 1:55 in the video below, but I would recommend watching the full video because there are some other cool technologies in there (the off-road path prediction and reconfigurable wheels are particularly impressive):

During the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting last year, Donald Sando, the Maneuver Center of Excellence’s deputy to the commanding general, which develops future requirements for individual soldiers and the maneuver force, claimed that electric vehicles will play an important role in the US Army relatively soon.

He said during the meeting:

“In 10 years, some of our brigade combat teams will be all-electric,” he continued “that’s a generational change. It’s significant; and we’re going to do it; and we’re going to need industry’s help. There’s plenty of people who say we can’t do it.”

We have already seen the U.S. military interested in specific EVs in the past. Earlier this year, the U.S. Marines tested the insane all-electric Nikola UTV and equipped it with guns.

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