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Luka EV features wheel hub motors, retro design

by Justin King

The design is heavily based on a Tatra prototype from the 1950s that never entered production.

Czech startup MW Motors is working on a unique retro-styled electric vehicle, the Luka.

Designer Maurice Ward traces the Luka's styling back to a Tatra coupe prototype of the 1950s, keeping a two-seat layout and lightweight construction on a modern aluminum chassis.

Unlike current production EVs that employ centrally mounted electric motors that drive the wheels via axle shafts, the Luka integrates in-wheel hub motors that directly spin the wheel. The approach has been used for several concept vehicles from major automakers, including the Mitsubishi Miev and General Motors Sequel.

MW Motors claims the Luka can travel 62 miles on just 6.8 kWh of power, with an overall range of 186 miles. Boasting a modest 66 horsepower, the coupe is estimated to hit 62 mph in 9.6 seconds and top out at 91 mph.

The Luka is one of many interesting EVs that aim to enter the market amid the shift toward battery power. History suggests the vast majority will not achieve their production goals, however.