Michelin give up the Active Wheel project
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    Default Michelin give up the Active Wheel project

    Michelin had developed a very clever wheel design which incorporated an active suspension and electric drive. Although it provided a ready made solution to wannabe electric car makers, the risk/reward has not worked out for start-ups (with the possible exception of Tesla). The large scale manufacturers rejected it on the grounds of cost. They are finding that a single electric motor is much cheaper than four. Without a major customer, they have decided to quit the project.

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    Veni Vidi Posti 68 404's Avatar
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    Bibendum will be upset...

    Dave
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  3. #3
    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    His influence has been blown up out of proportion.
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    They were too late anyway, Le Tourneau have had an active wheel system for yonks......
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Michelin give up the Active Wheel project-letourneau.loader.jpg   Michelin give up the Active Wheel project-letourneauloader.jpg  
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

  5. #5
    JBN
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    Both the photos show the vehicles to be completely inactive. You are not adding BS to the dozer, are you Kim?

    John

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    Both the photos show the vehicles to be completely inactive. You are not adding BS to the dozer, are you Kim?

    John
    A true pioneer,

    In 1953, LeTourneau sold his entire earthmoving equipment line to the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. He then applied his ingenuity to the development of the electric wheel drive concept. In 1958, at the age of seventy, LeTourneau re-entered the earthmoving equipment manufacturing business, offering contractors a range of high capacity earthmoving, transportation, and material handling machines based on the revolutionary electric wheel drive system he had developed. An electric wheel drive is also called an electric Wheel hub motor.

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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    The Michelin concept was much more than a motor in the hub which is now trivial with PC motors, rare earth magnets and electronic stator switching.
    It incorporated braking and an active suspension.
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    1000+ Posts Andrew Ch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    They were too late anyway, Le Tourneau have had an active wheel system for yonks......
    He also invented canvas covers for the back of Utes... : )

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerry freed View Post
    The Michelin concept was much more than a motor in the hub which is now trivial with PC motors, rare earth magnets and electronic stator switching.
    It incorporated braking and an active suspension.
    I think that the Le Tourneau vehicles also incorporated braking and suspension via their wheels too, Gerry!;-)
    Last edited by Kim Luck; 9th November 2014 at 11:18 AM.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

  10. #10
    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Ch View Post
    He also invented canvas covers for the back of Utes... : )
    Close, but no cigar! Tonneau - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Andrew Ch's Avatar
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    That's the last time I use " roughenoughapedia " next you'll tell me the Le doesn't stand for limited edition !

  12. #12
    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    It doesn't?
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    As is often the case, the reason why this this announcement was newsworthy has been lost in the noise. At the time when the government enthusiasm for electric vehicles got under way in France, it potentially opened a window for new entrants in the industry. There was discussion whether the main manufacturers who take the market immediately or whether start-ups had the chance to move in. This Michelin design gave a turnkey solution for the new companies to configure a small electric car or van, without the risks of experimenting with the core technology. Heuliez took it up with the Mia. They went broke in spite of regional government subsidies and rescue efforts by Segolène Royal, the Président of the region and now ecology Minister. Bolloré with battery technolgy entered the market with an Italian car design and opened a niche with kerbside rentals. As the scene unrolled it was apparent that the investment by Nissan/Renault and similar dominant players would not allow room for the fledglings in the nest and they were kicked out. Renault and Bolloré have got together. Only on a global scale and with funds not normally available to startups in this industry, Tesla are still in the market.
    That has killed the market for the Michelin device and so they have given up and the government is now very wary of intervening in market forces.
    The Michelin wheel was for an application far removed from heavy machinery and the design considerations were completely different. They incorporated regenerative braking, a must for electric car economy. To give an industry standard ride they had to get the unsprung weight down to conventional petrol engined cars and that was in part achieved by an active suspension. This follows from the the work done by Lotus on such a suspension for racing cars and ideas from Bose and others. Essentially, there is no spring component, metallic or gas. An electronic system senses the road to body clearance and with a motor or solenoid positions the suspension arm to hold the body level. It corrects at 10 or more times per second and has regenerative recovery to minimise the energy required. Interest in this technology, like hydro pneumatics seems to have faded out.
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  14. #14
    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Perhaps Michelin just re-invented the wheel?
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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