One of my main design goals is to keep the mass of the car as low as possible. This means selecting motors that have the most power per unit of weight. I’m planning to run three motors on the car – one on each wheel – which would make the car “all wheel drive.” This will help with acceleration, weight distribution, and simplicity. It will make the system more simple by avoiding a complex mechanical differential system. It will help with weight distribution by allowing the weight of the motors to be more evenly spaced around the car. It will help with acceleration by spreading the acceleration force more evenly across the tires.
I plan to buy the motors from Electric Motorsports in Oakland, California (where I live). They offer a number of motor systems, but one clearly stands above the rest. For peak horsepower per lb, the Motenergy DLC-28 is the best motor:
For continuous horsepower per lb, the Motenergy DLC-28 is also the best motor:
Motenergy is a company that designs motors specifically for electric cars and then has them manufactured in China. By pure coincidence, their warehouse is in my home town of Mequon, Wisconsin – maybe the universe is telling me I was destined to use this motor. The DLC-28 is a pretty incredible feat of engineering. It can produce 15 kW of continuous power and 38 kW of peak power (51 horsepower) and it weighs just 35 lbs. For comparison, and old Volkswagen Beetle 1600cc engine (like the kind I had in my old dune buggy) produces about the same peak horsepower (50 hp for the dual port engine) but weighs 220 lbs – more than 6 times more! The other really great thing about these motors are they are sealed to IP66 standards. This means that there is no need to worry about dirt, dust or water getting into the motors and fouling them up over time. As a result, it means that they are basically maintenance-free.
With three motors combined, the car should have a 150 peak horsepower and a 60 continuous horsepower for cruising. This should be more than adequate to allow high-speed cruising as well as fast acceleration and high top-speeds for short periods of time.