Ford and Schaeffler show off Fiesta-based eWheelDrive car

Article by Anita Panait, on April 26, 2013

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.

Already an excellent choice due to the EcoBoost engine inside it, the Ford Fiesta has the best collection of features and technologies for a model of its class. This ensures that drivers are able to get a perfect mix when it comes to unrestrained driving experience and a connected world. A new feature that customers are sure to love in the Fiesta is the MyKey feature.

With this, parents will be able to ensure safer driving for their teenagers while limiting their exposure when behind the wheel. This is because by using this system, parents will be able to set limits on the maximum speed and even the volume of the audio. For example, until the seat belts are actually fastened, the audio remains muted. In addition, once the seat belts are used, the safety systems, alerts, and driver aids, are activated.

New as well is the MyFord Touch system that comes with a 6.5-inch display having touch screen capabilities. This time though it has improved voice control. Thus, drivers are presented with more options when it comes to functions related to communication, entertainment, and navigation. It also has SYNC AppLink capabilities, originally seen on the first generation of the Fiesta.

Through this system, drivers will be able to access, and even control, any smartphone apps authorized by Ford. Drivers can do so using vehicle controls or by simply using voice commands. Since this can be done while on the go, drivers can keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the steering wheel. SYNC Services still has turn-by-turn navigation. Ford Chief Engineer for Upperbody Electronics John Schneider says that the new Fiesta was developed for the digital generation.

With the MP3 capabilities and the Bluetooth connectivity, he adds, tech-savvy customers, especially those who like to be on social media, will remain to be connected and will not experience any slowing down even when inside the Fiesta. Schneider continues by saying that at Ford, the principle followed is one where entry-level drivers should always have access to the most innovative technology.

It was in the Fiesta that Ford first launched the SYNC AppLink, he adds. The brand is moving to shift to the MyFord Touch, he says, and by offering this new touch screen, allows Ford to be able to move even further in the goal of providing drivers with the best in-car electronics.

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Topics: ford, ford fiesta

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