While this type of suspension has primarily been relegated to pickup trucks, Ford is working on ways to use them in future EVs.
According to media reports, Ford is said to be working on a new kind of powertrain for its future EVs. Reports suggest that the company has filed a patent with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for solid axles with integrated hub motors.
Unlike individual suspension systems, solid axles pivot when moving over uneven surfaces. While this type of suspension has primarily been relegated to pickup trucks, Ford is working on ways to use them in future EVs. As per the document, Ford will add a hub motor assembly at each wheel to a solid axle, instead of the inboard-mounted motors used on most current EVs.
Hub motors aren’t a new idea, with Ford itself having previously cancelled the thought of using them on the F-150 Lightning. However, the American giant is now said to be re-looking at the in-motor setup once again for use in both commercial and private vehicles.
Elaphe, a Slovenian company, is said to be working on hub-mounted motors and will be supplying them for vehicles such as the Aptera three-wheeler and even the solar-powered Lightyear 0 supercar. Elaphe is also said to have partnered with McLaren to incorporate their racing tech into developing future hub-motor powertrains. Elaphe recently started shipping its hub motors for use in Lordstown Motors’ Endurance pickup trucks.
However, Ford themselves reported a few concerns with hub motors, despite which they are looking into the new form of EV powertrain. These concerns include the motors being at a higher risk of damage, interference with friction brakes and an increase in unsprung mass making it difficult to tune the ride quality & handling.
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