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Ford and Schaeffler unveil in-wheel motor project

The eWheelDrive technology uses independent motors located in each of the rear wheels, which in turn frees up the space under the bonnet usually occupied by an engine and transmission or central electric motor. In the test vehicle, the extra space is used to accommodate the battery.

Because its in-wheel motors contain not only the components to drive the vehicle, but for braking, driver assistance and cooling, Ford said the technology could allow a four-seat electric car to have the footprint of a two-seat model, as well as allowing vehicles to drive sideways into parking spaces.

The project will now add partnerships with  Continental, RWTH Aachen and the Univerity of Applied Sciences, Regensburg, developing a pair of research vehicles for 2015 with further advances in the technology.

Pim van der Jagt, Ford’s director of research and advanced engineering in Europe, explained: ‘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 manoeuvrability.

‘Looking forward, we have the opportunity to scope out the vehicle’s capabilities and how we might overcome some of the challenges presented by implementing the technology.’

Alex Grant

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