Motorcycles

Central or hub type electric motor, which option is better in an electric motorcycle or scooter?

Electric motorcycles and scooters are proving to be the most logical and affordable option for those who want to make the leap to electric mobility without having to spend the entire amount that an electric car requires for its purchase. However, and contrary to what happens in its gasoline counterparts, There are two types of scooters and electric motorcycles based on their propellant, as they can use a central or hub-type motor, which generates doubts about which is better or what advantages and disadvantages each solution provides. They can also be distinguished by type of battery, as there are fixed and removable batteries that allow charging outside the motorcycle.

In Hybrids and Electrics we have had the opportunity to test the most interesting electric motorcycles and scooters equivalent to 125 in the entire Spanish market, among which we have seen models with both types of electric motor, and they are precisely thehigher priced companies that use central electric motorswhich is indicative of which solution is the best.

There are several differences between one type of propellant and another, and they can be broadly framed in terms of costs and maintenance, reliability and performance.

Maintenance and costs

A central electric motor will always be more expensive to develop and equip than a hub type, in addition to the fact that the former will always need a previous adaptation or a specific design by the motorcycle in which it will fit. In other words, a hub-type electric motor can be fitted to any motorcycle, whether or not it was originally designed as an electric motorcycle.

In addition to this, being placed outside the wheel and coupled to the structure of the motorcycle itself, a central electric motor will always need a transmission to send power to the rear wheel, which increases the cost of the purchase. as maintenance, since when equipping both a chain or a toothed belt, these will need maintenance and replacement after a certain use and time, while a hub-type electric motor does not need to be treated.

Bosch electric hub motor from the electric NIQ MQi GT.
Bosch electric hub motor from the electric NIQ MQi GT.

In terms of costs and maintenance, the only disadvantage that can be attributed to a hub-type motor is that complications can arise when the time comes to need a replacement of the rear tire, especially in these early stages of adoption of electric models. And it is that to change the tire you need to disconnect the drive from the wiring diagramwhich complicates the process and can lead to bad connections if not done properly.

reliability

Both central and hub-type electric motors are proving to be solutions that do not suffer from any type of endemic diseaseand stand out for having a much longer life than any similar gasoline engine.

However, the electric motors placed in the wheel have a great disadvantage with respect to the central ones. And it is that as it is non-suspended mass and forms part of the wheel itself, the engine absorbs with it all the irregularities and imperfections of the asphalt.

Central electric motor and belt of the Super Soco TC Max.
Central electric motor and belt of the Super Soco TC Max.

This means that any bump or jolt will directly affect the hub motor, while the center will barely reach the damping system having previously absorbed the violence of the impact to a great extent. The electric motors integrated in the wheel will also be subjected to the constant vibrations transmitted by the asphalt, especially when it is not in an optimal state.

Performance

The electric motors embedded in the rim have a clear limit in terms of power marked by the revolutions that they can reach, which are limited by the rim itself. rear wheel turning speed, as well as the voltage transmitted to the motor by its electrical diagram. A central electric motor will always be able to turn at a higher speed and with less effort than a hub type, so it will be able to deliver more power more efficiently. The latter also has a direct impact on temperature.

Ecooter E5 Pro_0897
The Ecooter E5 uses a central electric motor and chain drive.

In this sense, if a manufacturer is determined that a hub-type motor produces more power than usual, it must work with a higher voltage electrical system that is capable of transmitting more energy to the rear wheel when required by the pilot. , which causes the working temperature of the engine to rise, and may fully affect the performance of the motorcycle in certain circumstances, with warnings due to high temperatures by the scooter or motorcycle and even total or partial loss of power.

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