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Electric prototype in-wheel motor drive

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The Ford Fiesta E-Wheel Drive is not your typical city car, with 700Nm of torque sent to the road via the rear wheels, this collaboration between Ford and German engineering company Schaeffler debuts an integrated wheel hub drive technology.

The Ford Fiesta E-Wheel Drive is powered by two electic motors, each producing a constant 33kW of power and up to 350Nm of torque. Nothing extraordinarily new till now but the innovative and interesting thing about these motors is that they are actually positioned inside the 16-inch rear wheel rims. Each such system weighs 53 kg and includes the power electronics, controllers, brakes and cooling systems.

According to Chaeffler chief technical officer the in-wheel drive systems would allow for car manufacturers to design future electric city cars with fewer restrictions. The concept of the wheel hub drive allows for previously unheard space savings to be made possible, which means more inside spade that the designers and engineers can work with.

Considering the fact that all the components that are relevant to the propulsion, braking and driving safety are housed inside the actual wheel, this offers maximum space for passengers, luggage as well as for the battery pack and electronics.

Not having to worry about actual engine space means that manufacturers and designers can start to design different types of bodies.

According to Ford Europe’s research and advanced engineering project manager said that the Fiesta E-Wheel Drive performed rather impressively during cold-weather testing in Scandinavia. He continued to say that the testing has shown that the driving behavior, comfort and safety have all remained basically at the same level, despite the higher wheel-sprung masses.

Keep in mind that this is still in the prototype phase and no large-scale production partnership has been made with any global auto maker.

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