Ford and their technology partner Schaeffler have come up with the Fiesta eWheelDrive, a research project car powered by in-wheel electric motors. This car is all about saving space by cramming all the running gear – including the electric motor, braking and cooling systems – into the wheels, thus freeing up space under the bonnet.
In a conventional car, or even an EV, the space under the bonnet is occupied by the engine and transmission or the central motor. What Ford is proposing here is two independent electric motors located inside the rear wheels. This compact packaging, says Ford, makes it possible to make a four-person car that only occupies the space of a two-person car today.
Ford does not reveal how this in-wheel motor system affects the car’s handling, but the eWheelDrive steering system designs could enable vehicles to move sideways into parking spaces. So it is fair to say this technology is suitable for the small city cars. That is what Ford is after – making city cars as small and as efficient as possible, in preparation for the crowded cities of the future.
“We face challenges that will have to be addressed through time, thought and investment,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s global trends and futuring manager. “It is by starting to look at how we might meet those challenges through research projects such as eWheelDrive, that we ensure that we embrace a future of choice and not a future of constraint.”