The SIM-LEI’s interior benefits from the car’s relatively wide dimensions

A Japanese technology company has developed a prototype electric vehicle that uses in-wheel electric motors to achieve a range of 333 km in urban traffic.

The test vehicle, which is built by SIM-Drive, is called SIM-LEI, which stands for Leading Efficiency In-Wheel motor. The vehicle should go into mass production in 2013, SIM-Drive said.

SIM-Drive is backed by a broad range of partners interested in developing electric vehicles and electric-vehicle technology. Among these are carmakers Mitsubishi Motors and Isuzu, which are expected to play a role in eventually marketing the SIM-LEI.

The SIM-LEI has a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 24.5 kWh. It consumes electricity at a rate of 77Wh per km, which the company said is equal to regular combustion-engine gasoline consumption of 1 liter per 70 km.

As with all electric vehicles, the SIM-LEI is also designed to consume less fuel and emit less CO2 than cars with traditional combustion engines. SIM-Drive said that, when recharged overnight with low-cost surplus electricity, no additional power-generating capacity would be required. The fuel saved by phasing out traditionally powered cars would be used to generate the electricity needed for the SIM-LEI.

sim drive interior.automotiveIT

The SIM-LEI’s interior benefits from the car’s relatively wide dimensions

And SIM-Drive said the new electric vehicle's batteries could be used as a daytime source of household electricity.

The in-wheel motors of the SIM-LEI are a major factor in meeting performance targets. The drive system consists of four outer-rotor direct drive in-wheel units.

SIM-Drive also cited the car's low-weight all-steel monocoque body, its low rolling-resistance tires and its aerodymanic shape as factors contributing to its performance.

The SIM-LEI accelerates from 0 to 100 km/hour in 4.8 seconds.