Fisker Orbit autonomous electric shuttle to use in-wheel motors

Jimi Beckwith
13 June 2018
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Fisker has revealed its latest electric project: the Orbit, an autonomous shuttle bus with in-wheel motors.

The Orbit is designed for use in urban environments and can pick up passengers from their location, rather than a traditional bus stop. Rides are requested from an app on the passenger’s smartphone along set routes used by the shuttles.

The in-wheel motors used are the Protean Drive system, created by British tech company Protean Electric. Their application, combined with the autonomous capabilities of the shuttle, mean that passenger space is at a maximum compared with the shuttle’s size. 

Protean’s system uses a permanent magnet and synchronous electric motor, giving each wheel 109bhp. The Orbit is likely to use two-wheel drive in most of its applications but is available in four-wheel drive. This means that powertrains with 218bhp or 436bhp are available. 

Each motor also produces 922lb ft of torque, so the four-wheel-drive version of the Orbit could conceivably produce 3688lb ft of torque. However, the motors are likely to be toned down for their application in the Orbit, given its purpose.