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Ford and Schaeffler demonstrate eWheelDrive project

Ford and Schaeffler have demonstrated the Fiesta-based eWheelDrive car, a drivable research vehicle that could lead to improvements in urban mobility and parking by making possible smaller, more agile cars.
Powered by independent electric motors in each of the rear wheels, eWheelDrive technology offers space under the bonnet that in conventional cars is occupied by the engine and transmission, and in electric cars by a central motor.
This technology could in the future support the development of a four-person car that occupies the space of a two-person car today. At the same time, eWheelDrive steering system designs could enable vehicles to move sideways into parking spaces.
“This is an exciting project to work on with Schaeffler because it potentially opens new options for the development of zero emission vehicles with very efficient packaging and exceptional maneuverability,” said Pim van der Jagt, Ford’s director of Research and Advanced Engineering in Europe.
With in-wheel motors, the components required for drive, deceleration and driver assistance technologies are installed in an integrated wheel hub drive – including the electric motor, braking and cooling systems.
“This highly integrated wheel-hub drive makes it possible to rethink the city car without restrictions, and could be a key factor in new vehicle concepts and automobile platforms in the future,” said Peter Gutzmer, chief technical officer, Schaeffler.
Ford joined the Schaeffler-led project to investigate the potential for future vehicles that also could offer zero emissions, and more space for features such as additional protection zones.
Ford will next partner with Schaeffler, Continental, RWTH Aachen and the University of Applied Sciences, Regensburg, on project MEHREN (Multimotor Electric Vehicle with Highest Room and Energy Efficiency) to develop two new driveable vehicles by 2015. The project aims to increase the integration of in-wheel motors in a car and will look at vehicle dynamics control, braking, stability and the fun-to-drive factor.

1 May 2013


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