Sydney technology developer Barry Westlake has developed and tested a prototype electric vehicle which overcomes many of the problems first faced more than a century ago by motoring pioneer Ferdinand Porsche.
Westlake, director of BAAD Concepts Pty Limited, has developed a fully electric, light weight medium compact vehicle capable of driving over all terrain from sand dunes to sealed roads.
The secret is the installation of a motor within each wheel hub, but overcoming the problem faced by Porsche of stabilising the four motors across variants in road surface.
Whereas most who have tackled the problem have focused on active suspension systems, Westlake uses electronics mounted in each hub that monitor the road conditions and instantly adjust torque utilising a sophisticated algorithm.
Westlake said: “Each commutation of the motor is managed along with the functions of anti-lock braking and a differential.
“During testing we discovered that this technology improves handling, with the vehicle feeling like it is running on rails since each wheel applies just the right amount of torque to each wheel, just when it is needed.”
With no need for differentials, reduction gears or drive shafts, designers have unprecedented freedom to provide more driver and passenger space.
Westlake initially targeted the resort market as a replacement for golf carts with all their limitations.
The result is the prototype (pictured) that has the capacity for four forward-seats and the capability to operate on all surfaces, all in a cart-sized package that can be charged from general power sources.
Westlake said: “During development, Brumbee and its patents, were also seen to have excellent application to CBD vehicles, and Brumbee technology can readily be adapted to a 4-seat vehicle of about the same size as a Smartcar.
“This dramatically expands the available market for the technology.”
Westlake’s issue, if he has one, is the age-old issue of developers of something genuinely new – access to capital.
He explains: “At this stage we are looking for someone who is well-connected in the motor vehicle industry to work with us to get a manufacturer to use the Brumbee technology.
“Then we would try to set up to manufacturing in Australia for the drive train – motors, electronics and chassis components.
“Once we have a customer, we have access to capital.”
Westlake has a head start in this – he and his partners have previously raised more than $1 billion in capital for various Australian businesses.
To contact Barry Westlake please visit www.brumbee.com.au
Image: Brumbee prototype
Subscribe to our free @AuManufacturing newsletter here.