Hyundai Mobis develops all-in-one EV wheel system capable of crab walking

By Park Sae-jin Posted : October 25, 2021, 10:22 Updated : October 25, 2021, 10:22

[Courtesy of Hyundai Mobis]

SEOUL -- South Korea's car parts maker Hyundai Mobis has developed an integrated all-in-one electric vehicle wheel system that has steering, braking, suspension and drive parts. The wheel system, capable of crab walking, is regarded as an essential aspect of purpose-built vehicles such as autonomous shuttles and compact electric buses.

The current electric vehicle (EV) drive system is based on a conventional vehicle structure that has an engine room, wheels located inside wheelhouses, and a cabin. EV Batteries provide electricity to motors that are connected to wheels via drive shafts and transmissions. The movement capability of an ordinary EV is almost the same as an internal combustion engine vehicle.

An in-wheel drive system allows carmakers to design EVs differently from their older brothers. The system has a motor placed inside the wheel to save space and increase energy efficiency. Because each wheel is connected to a motor, they can accelerate to different angles simultaneously. Some in-wheel drive systems support "crab-walking" to enable cars to move sideways like a crab to evade obstacles or move out of a tight spot.

Hyundai Mobis said in a statement released on October 24 that the company developed "e-Corner Module," the all-in-one in-wheel drive system for EVs. The concept for the innovative EV drive system was first introduced at an electronics show in 2018. The car parts maker said e-Corner Module will change the paradigm of a vehicle drive system.

[Courtesy of Hyundai Mobis]

The wheel can turn up to 90 degrees to move the car sideways or perform a stationary 360-degree turn. Such abilities will help cars move through tight spots such as an alleyway that has cars parked on both sides of the road. e-Corner module is also ideal for Purpose-built vehicles, said Hyundai Mobis.

By 2023, the company will develop a "skateboard module," a modular platform that connects four e-Corner Modules together. Autonomous driving technology will be used to develop a purpose-built vehicle-based mobility service by 2025.

Because a vehicle equipped with the e-Corner Module does not need to have wheels connected to the drive system, a lot of space will be saved, Hyundai Mobis said, adding the company has also developed a special electronic control unit (ECU), the brain of a vehicle, to independently manage and control each wheel simultaneously.
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