Has Tesla considere in wheel motors, for example working with Protean Electric? If not, what are the arguments against?
Check these threads. Discussed several times.
The threads were very negative about the idea. It is, however, the obvious future as light, rugged and powerful motors/brakes would clearly be far superior to the set-ups used today.
It is just a matter of time before suitable motors are developed, probably a decade. Surely Tesla keeps abreast of this technology and I like to think there are Tesla secret lairs where project like this are underway.
Perhaps some level of superconductivity will be required to make small, light and powerful wheel motors. In time all things electric will be revolutionized by this technology and that includes Teslas.
The big problem is unsprung weight. If you can make a smaller, lighter motor, it's best to put it into the body of the vehicle. There is really no advantage to putting motors in the wheels. Think about it, if you go over a bump and have a lot of mass, the wheel will bounce higher and have a harsher ride. Why do you think high-end cars try and have light wheels? Plus the motor will be subject to a lot more vibration and there are now more things that can go wrong.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprung_mass or better yet, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsprung_weight
The advantage to having the motor in the wheel is to eliminate all the axle components, CV joints and such. And each wheel could be sent power independently, also eliminating differentials and limited slip mechanisms.
Cornering and traction could be handled in ways not now available, as each motor is controlled totally independently of the others. Handling and safety would be well beyond what is available now.
Braking could be handled as well, anti-skid of course to each wheel with even back-spin available. This would eliminate today's brake components.
Your Tesla would have motors with tires attached. Nothing would look as kool as that and all other cars would look like they were not worthy.
Of course, as was mentioned, they motors cannot be heavy as the ride quality would suffer....unless Tesla uses an electric suspension where the wheels are pulled and pushed up and down by electric shocks. For example, the is a speed bump ahead. The suspension is pulled up as the tire just hits the bump and then puts it back down on the other side. This would somewhat negate the heavy motor, but that heaviness would put a strain on the mechanisms.
In any case, a motor in each wheel is a swell thing conceptually.
Puddles. Potholes. Mud. Slush. Salted roads.
Hub motors are fine for forklifts intended for indoor use, but not much else.
I'd like my motors protected from the elements, thank you.
Hub motors increase unsprung weight and they are weak compared to normal emotor. You could have four normal motors instead, single motor is not very large so there is space for them if you just sacrifice a bit trunk/frunk space.