"A ring functioning as a wheel" This is a great invention where they are putting the electrical engine right in the wheel. It promises to really improve millage and emissions of buses and other vehicles.
I don't recall that I tinkered a lot, when I was a kid. But I remember vividly once taking my brother's Fischertechnik. I connected 4 wheels and the motor on the picture to a little platform. I was trying out with which configuration I could still run it up a steep slope to my bed.
What amazed me back then was, how much energy can get lost if the engine is not directly connected to the wheels.
Therefore, to build the engine within the wheel makes perfect sense to me. Why didn't they think of that earlier :-)
(Actually the Megola Sport 640 from 1922 is a motorcycle that had the engine in the front wheel.)