In the future, Hyundai electric cars won’t have just one or two electric motors – they could have four, inside the wheels allowing its zero emissions vehicles to “turn on a penny”.
The company has plans to commercialise the technology, which has been developed by its parts and components arm Hyundai Mobis, allowing for better turning capabilities at the same time as reducing the weight (and therefore the efficiency of the vehicle).
“We’re going from having electric motors with drive shafts to having in-wheel motors of the future,” public relations manager for Hyundai Motors future mobility division Scott Nargar said at the Zero Emissions Transport Conference in Sydney.
“This is some of our vision for the future with electrification that we’re working on now and seeing in R&D centres.
“[Hyundai is] taking all the components of a normal vehicle out and putting in wheel electric motors and four wheel steering, so potentially the car can sit on the spot and drive in circles,” Nargar said.
“So parking, manoeuvring, everything in the future becomes a lot easier.”
The technology could be available on vehicles as soon as next year.
From 2020, the technology may be used on electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs), according to a report from Korean ET News.
The in-wheel technology has been under development for some years now, having been demonstrated on a concept car ‘N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo’ FCEV at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2015.
With four independent, in-wheel, motor, motors and brakes become part of the same system, reducing overall vehicle weight and further simplifying the vehicles components.
Safety is a major task that must first be overcome before commercialisation is possible, with performance in a variety of driving conditions such as unpaved, icy and wet roads being tested over the coming year.
According to ET News, power output for each current, 2nd generation in-wheel motor at this time is 23kW, up 44% from the first generation 16kW motors and totalling 92kW output in total.
“In-wheel motor system is a next-generation driving method that minimizes power loss and we are going to finish development in 2018 and commercialize it in 2020.” a representative for Hyundai Motors told ET News in January.
“It will be applied to next-generation electric vehicles such as 2nd generation FCEV and we are going to slowly apply it to other variety of vehicles such as hybrid cars and plug-in hybrid cars.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.