The Beginning of Indigo — “Under the Hood”

A decade is a long time to operate in stealth mode, especially when you’re working on reinventing the wheel — and the future of mobility. At long last, we’re thrilled to let the world know about Indigo!

We were happy to give Forbes the exclusive first look at our Traction T1 Propulsion System. You can read the Forbes article here and learn more about how our in-wheel technology is changing the future of mobility.

Indigo was founded by MIT Professor Ian Hunter in 2010 with a goal of significantly reducing waste and pollution in global transportation.  Since then, we’ve been building a team of world-class problem solvers working to engineer a clean, efficient, and optimistic future for mobility. 

Making a measurable difference in efficiency requires generational, not incremental, change. Vehicle design today is the result of 100 years of gradual development, and subsystems are so deeply intertwined it’s hard to change anything without changing everything.  So that’s exactly what we did.

We started by asking ourselves, “How do you move a person most efficiently at speed?” As our CEO Brian Hemond told Forbes, “None of the technologies needed to produce the small, safe, efficient, comfortable vehicles existed ten years ago.”  Every system needed to be redesigned from scratch.

Transformative efficiency gains call for smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic vehicle  designs. Optimizing a vehicle for mass and aerodynamics means the cabin layout and powertrain have to change, marking a major departure from the way things are done today.  Changing 100 years of powertrain design powertrain is a major obstacle, and this is where Indigo’s Traction T1 motor comes in.

Other companies have tried the in-wheel approach in the past, with limited success – they have targeted conventional vehicles, which have already been optimized for combustion or transaxle EV powertrains.  Indigo isn’t trying to put new wheels on an old car design, because this doesn’t solve the fundamental energy problem.

The Traction T1 in-wheel motor is the core component of an efficient vehicle design paradigm.  Each T1 module contains an advanced motor core that delivers propulsion and active suspension, as well as electronics, braking, and sensors.  The active suspension is critical to offset the vehicle dynamics challenges encountered by traditional hub motors. Active suspension also enhances safety and ride comfort, while counteracting motion sickness in autonomous applications.

The Traction T1 is a breakthrough technology:

  • Outperforms existing in-wheel technologies by improving dynamics with fully integrated active suspension
  • Operates at a safe voltage, 48 V, unlike the 400 V or higher in traditional EV designs
  • Enables freedom to optimize vehicle design by removing traditional powertrain constraints
  • Offers improved dynamics  and handling vs. other in-wheel designs
  • Enables a 10x improvement in MPGe by allowing lightweight and aerodynamic body design
  • Allows for rapid vehicle ride height, roll, and traction control on each wheel
  • Addresses motion sickness in autonomous systems