Just about every powertrain configuration has been offered in recent production vehicles except one: the wheel hub motor.
It's not been for lack of trying.
General Motors early this century tinkered with a Chevrolet S-10 pickup powered by an electric motor in each wheel. The effort was abandoned when engineers couldn't solve three problems: reducing unsprung weight, effectively sealing out the elements and maintaining a proper temperature.
The technology has advanced since GM's trial, and if all goes as planned, the four-wheel-drive Lordstown Endurance electric truck will introduce wheel hub motors a year from now.
It will be the only truck without a transmission, axles, transfer case, driveshaft, U-joints or gears — saving about a thousand pounds.
An Endurance engineering mule performed admirably during a brief ride, delivering smooth, torque-y acceleration and, from my perch in the passenger seat, reasonable performance.
Lordstown Motors will build the wheel hub motors at an Ohio plant, but the design came from Slovenia's Elaphe Propulsion Technologies, which has been working for a dozen years to solve riddles that have kept wheel hub motors on the sidelines.