Schaeffler will officially present their E-Wheel Drive electric wheel hub drive inside a Ford Fiesta .

This electric Fiesta was produced in association with Ford as a "development vehicle," so don't look for this plug-in Ford at your local dealership anytime soon.

The Ford is propelled by twin E-Wheel Drives that are installed in the rear wheel arches. This in-wheel system includes all components required for "drive, deceleration, and driving safety in the highly-integrated wheel hub drive – like the electric motor, power electronics, controller, brake, and cooling system – are installed inside the wheel rim."

Wheel Hub Drive Cutaway

Wheel Hub Drive Cutaway

Features of the drive units:

  • 40 kW (110hp) per drive, continuous output of 2 x 33 kW (90 hp)
  • liquid-cooled wheel hub drive
  • delivers up to 700 Nm of torque
  • electrical voltage of the high-voltage drive is 360 – 420 V
  • total weight of 53 kilograms, or about 45 kg more than a traditional wheel and bearing
  • inside a 16-inch wheel rim

W-Wheel Fiesta May Show Where The Future Of Small City EVs Are Headed

W-Wheel Fiesta May Show Where The Future Of Small City EVs Are Headed

Prof. Peter Gutzmer, Member of the Executive Board and CTO at Schaeffler, offers his observations on the new technology, which is actually Schaeffler's 2nd generation prototype:

“The B-segment vehicle serves as a pre-production model. However, wheel hub drives have to be integrated into new vehicle concepts in order to demonstrate their strengths to the full. Thanks to this highly-integrated wheel hub drive, we can now re-think the city car without restrictions. It will be a key factor in new vehicle concepts and automobile platforms in the future."

"For electric vehicles used in urban environments, which may become obligatory in many densely populated areas, the wheel hub drive makes previously unheard-of space savings possible. In these new vehicle concepts, all components that are relevant for propulsion, braking, and driving safety are housed inside the wheel. The vehicle platform therefore provides maximum space for passengers, luggage, and for the battery, electronics, and communication systems. And vehicle manufacturers can use this as a basis for a range of different body designs. Automobile manufacture originally started in just the same way.”

For more information (and quotes) about Schaeffler’s E-Wheel Drive research project, check out the company's press release on the Ford concept car here.