Ford Motor Company and Schaeffler conducted a demonstration of the Fiesta-based eWheelDrive car, a research vehicle that could result to improvements in urban mobility and parking through production of smaller, more agile cars. The eWheelDrive is powered by independent electric motors in each of the rear wheels and offers room under the bonnet which usually occupied by the engine and transmission in conventional cars and by a central motor in electric cars.
The eWheelDrive technology could, in the future, support the development of a four-person car as small as a current two-person car. The eWheelDrive steering system designs could allow the car to move sideways into parking spaces – a possible breakthrough since cities are becoming more congested.
With in-wheel motors, the part required for drive, deceleration and driver assistance technologies -- – including the electric motor, braking and cooling systems -- are fitted in an integrated wheel hub drive.
Peter Gutzmer, chief technical officer at Schaeffler, said the eWheelDrive is a highly integrated wheel-hub drive that makes it possible “to rethink the city car without restrictions,” and may become be a vital factor in new vehicle concepts and platforms in the future.
Ford joined the eWheelDrive project led by German part supplier Schaeffler to probe the potential for future vehicles that also could offer zero emissions as well as more features like additional protection zones.
Many industry experts view in-wheel electric motors as a potentially important future technology enabler for city cars as the world become more urbanized and congested. Population in cities around the world is projected to reach 6.4 billion by 2050, while the number of vehicles is project to increase fourfold.