OxDrive e-hub powertrain signifies “breakthrough” for agri-tech manufacturers
15 February 2022
Innovative SME business Performance Projects has developed a new range of robust electric wheel hubs – or ‘e-hubs’ as they are better known – designed specifically for the emerging electric agricultural vehicle and robotics industry.
The OxDrive e-hubs bring together the motor, motor controller, park brake and gearbox into one compact unit.
Design and prototype testing has been undertaken at Performance Projects’ Silverstone Park premises and the business is currently demonstrating the e-hubs to potential customers across the agri-tech market.
“We’ve spotted a niche which is set to become mainstream, and we’ve come up with a breakthrough product for both vehicle manufacturers and end users,” said Performance Projects Director Chris Horton.
“There isn’t currently a fully integrated powertrain that manufacturers can just bolt on to their vehicles.
“Engineering a driveline is a big drain on resources for these companies. It’s a distraction from the core ‘USP’ technologies that they are developing, such as crop analytics, weeding or picking. With our e-hub, we’re making that headache go away, providing reliable, high torque drives for their machines.”
Notably, the e-hubs can be used elsewhere, such as on vehicles in construction or grounds maintenance, as well as other high-torque, low-speed applications operating in challenging environments.
The OxDrive e-hub range currently spans from 0.8kW to 8kW of power. The smaller units, says Chris, target the emerging range of ‘swarm’ robotic machines that look to become standard for fruit picking, yield management (prediction and maintenance) and picker to weigh station fruit transport. The larger units target more conventional looking vehicles, typically weighing two or three tonnes.
Chris continued: “Having proven the key technologies, the e-hub is attracting significant interest at the moment, with trials and rollouts aligned with agriculture’s calendar cycles.
“Our next step is to expand our engagement with manufacturers, beyond our development partners, to consolidate their levels of interest and work with them to demonstrate, and scale up, their vehicle programmes for the coming seasons.”