Fairfield Market Research predicts that the global hub motor (in wheel) market is likely to see a noteworthy expansion as the electric vehicle (EV) market exhibits a sales growth of 13%-15% in the coming few years. The rapid pace of vehicle electrification and the adoption of alternative powertrains are expected to give the hub motor technology a high growth potential. Presently, electric motors are directly integrated into EV wheels for efficiency.
Hub motor eliminates the necessity of any differentials for vehicle manoeuvring. Direct power transmitted to each wheel eliminates the necessity of integrating the vehicles with a power differential, thereby equally assisting in light-weighting. This motor is easy to install, and the lack of gears or transmission makes it easy to manoeuvre. This kind of motor is also known as in-wheel motor, electric hub, wheel hub drive, and wheel hub motor.
Changing nature of policymaking that is attune with climate control demands has created a massive shift towards vehicles with alternative propulsion. These are less dependent on fossil fuels and thus cause less pollution. Analysts anticipate this is an important factor in the rising sales of hub motors (in-wheel).
With hub motors in place, vehicle designers are focussing on enhanced, crash-resilient architectures with proper weight distribution. This in turn is facilitating achieving the development of lightweight vehicles, which do not compromise acceleration. Hub motors are likely to utilize the brushless DC technology, which allows electronic commute to replace mechanical commute with higher efficiency. This technology eliminates contact between rotor and stator, thus enhancing motor life.
Environment Sustainability to Bolster Demand for Hub Motors
Rising concerns towards environmental sustainability and pressure to reduce vehicular pollution have led regulatory bodies to initiate corrective actions. These are being characterized by incentive schemes to promote EV growth.
For instance, in the U.S., the EPA or NHTSA under the GHG emission regulations provides a zero-tailpipe emission score with bonus credits to plug-in EVs. While the European Commission’s regulation 443/2009/EC has established fleet-wide CO2 emissions standards. Asian countries such as China have stipulated laws that assign fuel consumption value of zero to EVs and penalises vehicles with lower fuel economy.
Immense strides to achieve these objectives of sustainability are expected to augment the global hub motor market. Automakers are also focusing on eliminating the limitations and developing eco-friendly and affordable hub motors.
The demand for hub motors has seen a surge as the adoption of electric bikes for personal use and commercial purposes such as last-mile delivery solutions, especially in China, sees an upward trend. Efforts by e-commerce vendors to reduce the carbon footprint will significantly boost the uptake of electric vehicles, thereby boosting the sales of hub motors.
COVID-19 Slams Brakes on Automotive Industry Growth Affecting Hub Motors Market
Increased manufacturing cost due to disrupted supply chain systems amidst a pandemic has wrung out profit margins. Automobile part makers are further being pressurized by the dire need to maintain hygienic conditions at the workplaces with frequent sanitization. To add to it, reduced labour force due to directives of social distancing are incurring higher expenses and lower outcomes. All of these factors have impacted the production of hub motors in recent year.
The market has also suffered due to cyclical depression in the global automotive market. Drop in sales as commute and transportation came to a halt, drastically impacted the hub motors market.
The key advantages of hub motor integrated electric vehicles are minimal or zero maintenance. It involves minimal replacement of components such as head gaskets, timing belts, oil & air filters, fan belts, spark plugs, and cylinder heads. This in turn is expected to garner consumer attention towards EVs.
Study also predicts that autonomous vehicles will likely be integrated with hub motor technology, chiefly due to better control and efficiency comparative to ICE powertrains. However, a lesser number of OEMs has incorporated the alternative power train for autonomous vehicles.
A dearth of charging infrastructure in the developing economies and high price points are constraining the market growth. Nevertheless, supportive government schemes and initiatives, with stringent emission regulations on ICE vehicles and prolific EV technology strategic alliances are anticipated to provide a thrust with substantial market growth in the foreseeable future.
Electrified Public Transit Systems Bolstering Hub-Motor Demand
Hub motor has drive types such as all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive. With lesser complexity in installation and minimal maintenance, the front-wheel drive segment is likely to be one of the leading segments. As a result, front-wheel drive type is likely to be prominent choices in autonomous vehicles as well, thereby yielding remarkable growth prospects.
Hub motor concept is highly prevalent in commercial vehicles especially in the city buses on account of the comfort and ease, as it allows east manoeuvring despite the weight of the vehicle. Rising penetration of battery electric vehicles (BEV) across the globe is expected to improve chances for better integration of the hub motor technologies. Introduction of better urban mobility with higher migrating population is expected to raise demand for BEVs, thereby raising demand for hub motors.
European Countries to Witness Upsurge in New Technologies While Asian Countries to Propel Demand
Proliferation of electric vehicles with or without hub motors have been led by political regimes and regulatory frameworks put forth by the governments of different nations. The response of governments of several nations shall be most important in transitioning to electric vehicles.
Vehicle electrification programs enunciated by Asian and European governments are likely to raise the hub motor demand in commercial vehicles with electric drive axles. Established automotive industry in European region and rapidly prospering automotive sector in Asian countries like China, India, Japan, and South Korea are prime factors likely to provide the necessary thrust for the market to grow in the regions.
Established distribution networks and advanced technology developments in Asian countries like China are proving to be a better environment for the hub motor market to grow.
During this pandemic, electric vehicles experienced a good demand response from across different nations such as Europe and Asia among others.
The surging number of COVID-19 cases have compelled the population to own their individual commute option. This in turn has created a demand scenario for which the manufacturers are trying to cater. Despite COVID-19 slowdown, the demand for electric vehicle in Europe was quite significant and its growth was close to 40%.
Collaborations and Mergers and Acquisitions to Remain Key Strategies
Achieving high-speed, deployment of non-rare earth materials-based magnets, and thermal management are of paramount importance to automakers whilst integrating the hub motors. In order to attain such technological expertise, several key players are actively entering into agreements with automakers and other players. In the quest to capture maximum market share, major players are engaging in business expansion through mergers & acquisitions. In 2019, the technology-centric acquisition by National Electric Vehicle (NEV), Sweden, of Protean Electric, is likely to aid the positive development of the market. The acquisition highlighted the significant utilization of Protean Electric’s in-wheel motors for electrified mobility, wherein both companies together indulged in developing futuristic propulsion systems.
Key players steering the hub motor market are ZIEHL- ABEGG, HEINZMANN GmbH & Co. KG, Protean electric, BonfiglioliRiduttoriS.p.A., ZF Friedrichshafen AG. NSK Limited, Evans Electric, Hyundai Mobis Co. Ltd., TM4 Inc., e-traction B.V., Kolektor, Elaphe Ltd., NTN Corporation., Magnetic Systems Technologies, GEM Motors d.o.o, Siemens AG, Printed Motor Works, YASA Limited, and Schaeffler AG driving the change.