Apart from being electric, the Aptera and Lordstown Endurance have at least something more in common: both use in-wheel motors. That leads us to a third similarity because the same Slovenian company has developed these motors. They come from Elaphe Propulsion Technologies.
If you have never heard about Elaphe, you are probably not alone. The company is very low-profile even when it comes to manufacturing and delivering its in-wheel motors. It does not necessarily want to be the finished product supplier: it allows its partners to use their manufacturing capabilities to get these parts. This is probably one of the main reasons for Aptera and Elaphe to choose it.
That allows Elaphe to sell the design of tailor-made motors for each application. It is a very different sort of supplier: instead of pushing whatever it has on its shelves, it asks the customers what they want. If they are not very sure, Elaphe offers them an analysis to determine which would be the best motor for their application.
For the customers to be sure that these projects are really what they need, Elaphe produces prototypes of the designed motor for tests. If these prototypes pass the evaluations, Elaphe can either produce them or help the company manufacture the motors independently.
Elaphe promises to offer the highest torque density among its competitors. The company is also pursuing innovations such as the 360º all-wheel steering concept that you can see in the video above. Having hub motors is key to making it possible, and the electric car architecture, as the battery pack in the video shows.
We are not sure we will ever see an electric car or commercial vehicle offer the 360º steering concept Elaphe presented. Yet, it is good to know the company can propose such a system for any automaker that sees that as an opportunity. Other automotive startups may soon join Aptera and Lordstown Motors as Elaphe clients.