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"Pancake" Made Cooper A Real Shocker

PML Flightlink, the small British electrical-engineering company, made the Mini Cooper a real shocker. The magic recipe is called the "pancake." No, not the tempting thing you crave for because of its succulent maple syrup and butter icing on top. "Pancake" is composed of brushless electric motors that produce a shocking 640 units of horsepower.

Flat "pancake" is PML's specialty. The company makes them for various purposes – marine, military and construction to name but a few. These motors are mated to the Mini Cooper's 19-inch wheels to make it an electrifying Mini. Each wheel contains a similar motor – each rated at 160 horsepower. Hence, an all-wheel-drive is capable of producing 640 horsepower. Top speed of the car is estimated to be over 150 mph, with the capacity to accelerate from 0 to 60 huge ones in just 4.5 seconds.

The electrifying version of Cooper was earlier showcased by the automaker at the British International Motor Show and at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Japan. “We’ve sort of reinvented the wheel,” said Chris Newman of PML Flightlink. In comparison with the standard Mini Cooper auto parts, the reinvented version comes with protruding oversized wheels. It is also those wheels that give a prominent distinction to the prototype from all other electric and hybrid cars available these days.

The hub motor is nothing new to the automotive realm however; PML claims that its motors have the most excellent power-to-ratio in the industry. PML's motor unit with the miniature Hi-Pa drive inverter weighs 53 pounds. Moreover, the complete wheel assembly including the tire is only 4.4 pounds heavier than a standard Mini. As a result, the unsprung weight is small.

To produce the prototype Mini, PML starts with a new Cooper, removes the engine, the brakes and the transmission. What are found under the hood include the 300-volt lithium polymer battery pack and a series of 135 supercapacitors. These auto parts Mini enhance both the electrical and top end power of the prototype.

Each wheel motor requires no transmission or differential. In fact, they are just controlled electrically. Wheel motors also serve as the brakes. They take the car's kinetic energy and convert it to electrical energy. At this point, PML has not developed yet a mechanical backup brake system.

Under the rear floor is a 250cc twin-cylinder four-stroke gasoline kart engine that could run at stable speed to recharge the batteries. The automaker claims fuel consumption to be approximately 65 mpg. The electric power of the prototype is expected to last about four to five at an average speed of 50 mph before the gas-powered generator fires up to refill the batteries. In addition, the batteries could also be charged from a household electrical supply. This is intended by PML to preclude avoidable inconvenience.

Unfortunately, the 640 horsepower Mini Cooper prototype is just aimed at catching interest of car aficionados. Moreover, those who want to get hold of the car may find it hard to own one. The prototype Mini is priced at 0,000 – more or less. Also, the motors are and casings are handmade. However, according to PML, mass-producing the motors and control systems could cut the price significantly. Also, if the prototype version is to be mass produced, only 2 of the potent motors would be sufficient in most applications. PML is looking forward to joint ventures with automakers and investors in connection with entering electric-car business.

About the Author: Correy Putton is a 28-year old bachelor from Pittsburgh, PA who has been around cars for the better part of his life. He now works online and writes all about his passion: cars. He is also a certified mechanic.

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