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Hyundai Motor and Kia unveils 'universal wheel drive system'

Hyundai Motor and Kia unveils 'universal wheel drive system'

Posted November. 29, 2023 08:16,   

Updated November. 29, 2023 08:16


Hyundai Motor and Kia have introduced the world’s first universal wheel drive system, aptly named “Uni Wheel,” revolutionizing electric vehicles (EVs) by integrating key driving components directly into the wheel. This groundbreaking technology not only boosts mileage by increasing battery capacity but also heralds the era of purpose-built vehicles (PBVs), addressing the limitations of traditional wheel systems and catering to future mobility needs.

The Uni Wheel, unveiled at a public event in Seoul on Tuesday, represents the next generation of EV propulsion technology. A standout feature is the seamless integration of drive components, including the electric vehicle reduction gear, directly into the wheel. This marks a departure from conventional propulsion systems, where power passes through the drive shaft, constant velocity (CV) joint, and transmission after going through the engine motor.

One of the most noteworthy advantages of the Uni Wheel is its exceptional spatial efficiency. If implemented, this technology is poised to optimize future mobility by effectively utilizing available space. “The space between the wheels, previously occupied by drive components, can now be repurposed for additional cargo space, trunk space, or battery installation,” said an official from the Hyundai Motor Group.

The Uni Wheel features a planetary gear structure, incorporating sun gears, planet gears, and ring gears. This design enables power transmission with almost uniform efficiency, regardless of wheel movement. With its dual functionality as an electric vehicle reduction gear, the Uni Wheel promises a stable and smooth ride experience. Furthermore, its adaptability allows for size adjustments, accommodating wheels ranging from 4 inches to over 25 inches.

“This technology is not limited to electric vehicles but can also be applied to other mobility solutions such as wheelchairs, bicycles, delivery robots, and more,” said an official from Hyundai Motor Group. Notably, Hyundai and Kia have taken steps to protect their innovation by applying for and registering eight patents related to the Uni Wheel in key countries, including South Korea, the U.S., and Europe.

Jae-Hyeng Kim monami@donga.com