Like Henry Ford, who recognized the value of speed records in selling cars, Shimizu made high performance part of the mission statement. Also like Ford, he has designated his projects with letters. His first electric car, the 1978 A car, was a converted Subaru Leone with lead-acid batteries and two electric motors attached to the front wheels. His next project, the B, was a motorcycle, and it introduced Shimizu's signature technology, the in-wheel drive system. In-wheel drive integrates an electric motor with regenerative braking (the motor turns into a generator to charge the battery when the brakes are applied), a mechanical brake, a torque-multiplying gear and a wheel bearing into
a single, compact unit. The system, says Shimizu, minimizes mechanical energy loss between a motor and a wheel, decreases overall weight, and increases cabin space.