Motor vehicles are wasteful in terms of energy and fuel used to transport only two or three persons at most! Every time the car engine runs, four fifths of the energy supplied goes to overcome the frictional resistance of the car engine, transmission and the bodyworks and their weights which accounts for the high fuel consumption! The electric car however goes a long way toward reducing wasted energy by replacing the internal-combustion engine with batteries. Even so, electric cars lose about 60 percent of the energy because heavy mechanical parts are still used to deliver energy from the batteries to the car wheels through air box and mechanical transmission system. Lately, though, engineers have come up with a far more efficient way to accomplish the same task: by using magnets in the wheels; in place of traction motor and mechanical power transmission gears.
Wheel motors ensures better energy efficiency than the electric car, bringing the truly energy-efficient car another step closer to reality! The mechanism is surprisingly simple. Each wheel hub has a ring of electromagnets inside. Another ring of magnets lines the rim of the wheel, which fits over the hub. A rapidly alternating pulse of electricity through the electromagnets in the hub changes the polarity of magnets many times each second, causing the wheel to turn through magnetic repulsion. The only moving parts, aside from the wheel itself, are the wheel ball bearings.
About two hundred test cars, buses, and trucks have been built with wheel motors, till date in USA. Around twenty companies are developing to have these including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mitsubishi, Renault-Nissan, Siemens, and Volvo, as well as wheel and tire makers Bridgestone and Michelin.
With more development going on, the initial problems, though minor, will soon be overcome and it is expected that wheel magnet driven public transport vehicles will soon become the preferred vehicle on the road.