Design optimization of traction motors for light electric vehicles requires a comparative analysis in order to account for both performance and efficiency, while considering overall cost, size limitations and manufacturing complexity. This paper presents a comparative study on different surface mounted permanent magnet (SMPM) in-wheel motor configurations, facilitating fractional slot concentrated windings (FSCW). On a first step, different pole/slot combinations were investigated and evaluated in terms of performance primarily. On a second step, different stator geometries were analyzed, considering both double and single layer windings and both equal and unequal stator teeth. Two different operating conditions were taken into account, i.e. nominal load and overload. The most advantageous was selected, by means of efficiency, clean interface and overall weight, using an extensive sensitivity analysis. On a third step, the final geometry was optimized, via fine-tuning of key design variables, accounting for maximum efficiency and minimum machine weight.