03-01-2009: Eliica Wheel Motor EV Gets Japanese Auto Industry backing. President of small research company SIM-Drive Corp. and a professor of engineering at Japan’s Keio University, Shimizu has spent 30 years developing his dream car, which centers on a set of motors built into the Eliica’s wheels – all eight of them.
So far, he and his team at Keio’s Electric Vehicle Laboratory have developed eight prototypes including the $5 million Eliica. A ninth, a 4-wheeler, is being readied for January. Through use of in-wheel motors and a special platform structure into which main EV components can be placed, Shimizu estimates energy consumption can be cut in half compared with other electric cars.
In fact, his next model will incorporate a 24-kWh battery, equaling the capacity of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s Leaf electric-vehicle battery, giving it an estimated range of 200 miles (322 km) with the air-conditioner off, nearly double the Leaf’s reported range.
Although history is against inventors like Shimizu, he nevertheless has succeeded in putting together a lineup of 30 corporate partners, each paying nearly $250,000 to join the project. Chief among them are auto makers Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd., as well as Japan Aviation Electronics Industry Co. Ltd., Pioneer Corp., Sanden Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Co. Ltd. Shimizu claims at annual volumes of 100,000 units, the car will cost ¥1.5 million ($17,600) to produce, not including the battery. Using four in-wheel motors at the same production level will run an estimated ¥120,000 ($1,400).