Hanseatische Fahrzeug Manufaktur (HFM), a global company specialising in the development of highly complex mechatronics systems for electric and autonomous vehicles, is joining forces with Elaphe, an in-wheel motor technology specialist.

Elaphe in-wheel motors will provide the propulsion in HFM's Motionboard, a highly adaptable autonomous electric vehicle platform and claimed to be the only one with a permit to operate on public roads.

"Elaphe's expertise and production competence in the area of in-wheel motor technology makes them the ideal partner for developing solutions for a sustainable and autonomous mobility of tomorrow," said Wolfgang Bern, managing director of HFM. "In addition, the company also has very extensive testing facilities to put the motors through their paces."

"Our in-wheel technology is put through extensive automotive validation under a wide range of demanding operating conditions and loads," said Urska Skrt, head of business development at Elaphe"Patented electromagnetic topology allows our motor design to be highly scalable, light-weight and the most compact on the market."

HFM's scalable and modular Motionboard platform allows adapting the vehicle built on top of the platform to its current needs, both in terms of length and width as well as with regard to the battery capacity, making it modular and widely applicable. The platform meets the requirements for homologation in Europe as an M1 class vehicle (vehicles for passenger transport with a maximum of eight seats plus the driver).

"As a company focusing on compliance with all the requirements for type approval and homologation within the framework of existing and future legal provisions, reliability and safety are of course at the top of our list of priorities," says Friedrich Soost, head of mechanical development at HFM and responsible for the mechanical integration of the Elaphe in-wheel motors into the Motionboard platform.

The flexibility of the platform requires the motors to cover a wide range of potential uses with significant differences in vehicle mass. In addition to delivering the necessary torque, the motors also have to be highly efficient to make maximum use of the installed battery capacity.

"The in-wheel motors operate at over 90% efficiency and allow us to achieve extended operating ranges," said Marcus Wilamowitz, head of electrical integration and functional safety at HFM.

In addition to avoiding all the complications and unnecessary losses in gears and transmission, the distributed direct-drive with intelligent multiple-wheel control helps introduce new safety features and improves performance of traction and braking.