Individual Actuation: The Future of Four-Wheel Drive Systems?

Not familiar with how four-wheel drive works? When the engine in a “normal” car runs, this movement is transferred to the front or rear wheels by way of a gearbox. In a four-wheel drive vehicle, the movement is sent to all four wheels via a transmission and various components known as a transfer case. Essentially, the movement of the four wheels is controlled by a single engine.

But there’s another possibility that may very well eclipse the others: a four-wheel drive system that runs on four electric motors¾one for each wheel. This type of system is far superior to classic all-wheel drive because it offers much better control of the torque for each wheel.

For example, in modern conventional cars, when the computer detects that certain wheels are starting to lose grip, it will rectify the problem by sending torque to wheels that have the best traction, with the help of a differential. However, since this doesn’t happen instantly, you could get stuck.

On the other hand, in cars with independent wheel actuation, the computer can instantly adjust each wheel’s torque, thereby minimizing the loss of grip.

Hydro-Québec has already worked on an in-wheel motor concept - essentially a small electric motor that supplies each individual wheel¾toward the eventual goal of installing four of these motors in one car.

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

BlogAll-Wheel Drive: The Tesla Advantage
Everyone’s talking about Telsa, the California-based electric vehicle company. And that’s something when you consider that automakers rarely make traditional media headlines anymore, unless of course there’s a disaster like the Volkswagen diesel car scandal . Tesla sure has a way of garnering the attention of traditional media¾and good on …
BlogFour-Wheel Drive vs. All-Wheel Drive
These days, there are a whole lot of four-wheel drive systems out there, but do you know the difference between the two main types? Let’s begin with what’s known as 4X4. This type of system is usually found in SUVs and off-road vehicles. Basically, the engine sends torque to a …
BlogSmall Luxury SUVs with All-wheel Drive: Fashionable!
Subcompact luxury sport-utility vehicles, equipped with all-wheel drive, fulfill the important need of safely hauling the family, but also allow consumers to look good in an upscale vehicle. The subcompact SUV segment has grown in popularity over the past few years, and new models keep being added to the market.
BlogAffordable Cars with All-wheel Drive: a Rarety
For several years now, sport-utility vehicles are in fashion, and most subcompact and compact models offer, either as standard or on their options list, an all-wheel drivetrain to handle to winter season. However, no matter their size or feature content, these AWD SUVs generally cost at least more than $25,000.
BlogHas All-Wheel Drive Still Got It?
For many, an all-wheel drive vehicle is a must; for others, not so much. In this era of countless integrated electronic assistance systems, is all-wheel drive still an advantage? The answer is a resounding yes. Sure, you can get by with a two-wheel drive system, especially since the advent of …