The phrase “four-wheel drive” might become literal. Michelin has come up with a new electric car where the engine is in the wheels: the Active Wheel.

Packing in a sophisticated active shock absorption system, with its own dedicated motor, and disk braking brings the wheel to a hefty 43 kg (95 pounds). Together, the two front wheels deliver a steady 41 horsepower, which can spurt up to 82 hp for short sprints. The Will should do 0-100 km (0 – 62 mph) in 10 seconds and will have a max speed of 140 km/h (87 mph).

Lithium ion batteries will be delivered in three modular configurations, offering ranges of 150, 300 and 400 km (93, 186 and 248 miles). Just like hybrids, the Active Wheels recover energy during braking to extend vehicle range. The in-wheel motors are reported to be 90% efficient, compared to about 20% efficiency for a conventional vehicle in city driving.

With battery packs on board, the prototype Heuliez Will weighs in at just 900 kg.

Active Wheel

Active Wheel