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Ford Fiesta eWheelDrive puts motors in your wheels

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Concept tech in Ford Fiesta eWheelDrive uses in-wheel electric motors to improve space.

Future small Ford cars could be driven by motors in the wheels, leaving more space in the cabin and luggage area. And the potential to park a car sideways.

Ford's Fiesta-based eWheelDrive concept uses electric motors housed inside each of the rear wheels, leaving the under-bonnet cavity -- usually occupied by an engine and gearbox -- free for a big boost in cargo space.

Future production models could boast smaller overall proportions, but maintain existing levels of interior space. Ford suggests that such packaging benefits could result in four-seaters that are no larger than an existing two-seat city car, such as Smart's ForTwo.

The technology for the Fiesta eWheelDrive concept has been developed in conjunction with Shaeffler, a component manufacturer based in Germany.

Shaeffler's in-wheel motors also have the ability to steer, which could lead to production models with the ability to park sideways. This would prove a boon for congested city environments.

The in-wheel motors also combine all drive, braking, and stability aids within the motor unit, which will offer designers freedom to create future production models that appear vastly different to today's city-car norm.

"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 and Schaeffler plan to develop a further two driveable eWheelDrive concepts by 2015, with the aim to improving the motors' integration and fun-to-drive factor.


Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 3 comments

  • To be frank mijjones, Porsche has already done a wheel powered by motors within it more than 100 years ago. Talking about topping up the battery, it is not necessary to have a petrol engine onboard, it will destroy the purpose of an EV. There are multiple ways, like solar that we both know. Since the Ford ewheel Fiesta is a RWD, the front wheel could act as a generator. We do have a new technology called the induction charging, which direct contact in needless between the charger and the device, as long as the device is within the induction radiate range, the device can be charged, so what we can to is to embed this induction charger underneath the road pavement, then the vehicles on top can be charge on the go. Schaeffler and Ford is in the right direction for the EVs, impossible is coming true.

    Ryan Gipson Webb of Singapore Posted on 27 May 2013 5:29am
  • i've wondered for a few years now how long it will take for a manufacturer to put the motors in the wheels. this would be better for centre of gravity, packaging too styling. though i think the ultimate would a a similar setup to the volt. a small petrol engine acting as a generator to supply electricity as needed to top-up an onboard battery pack

    mijjones of brisvegas Posted on 01 May 2013 6:49pm
  • This brand new hub drive is fascinating in terms of concept, it really makes smaller cars like the Ford Fiesta itself to be more comfortable and spacious. Parking is much more easier than ever before with the newly introduced 90 degree steering lock on all wheels, tight spaces will no longer be a problem. I'm thrilled with what the benefits have been brought upon while having some doubts with the unsprung weight which makes the driving not as much enjoyable as modern cars nowadays. Schaeffler seems to be giving a lot of effort on this project, I wish they could solve whatever problems existed and make it available to us as soon as possible.

    Ryan Gipson Webb Posted on 30 April 2013 1:49am

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