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Ford patents combination of solid-axle hub motor with off-roading EV

Ford has filed for a patent for a combination of solid shaft and hub motor for electric vehicles very similar to what the automaker has dismissed as unfeasible for the F- pickup truck. My 150 Lightning.

As detailed in an application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 9, a solid shaft similar to that used in many current pickup trucks will be combined with the motor in the shaft. A central engine cluster will be mounted at each wheel, helping the car to drive all four wheels.

The clutch controls the distribution of torque, allowing 100% of the torque from one engine to be transmitted to another on a given axle if only a single wheel had traction, Ford says in the app, adding that “this can be especially helpful when one wheel is off the ground, such as when crawling over rocks.” It is also possible to slide both clutches on a given shaft, according to the application.

Ford patent image shows a solid shaft with EV . hub motor

Ford patent image shows a solid shaft with EV . hub motor

The use of solid axles and the involvement of rock crawling suggests that some trucks are designed for off-road. But Ford in 2021 said it considered and then fixed motor, in wheel because of durability issues, due to the external position of the motor being more exposed. The performance of frictional braking while towing is also a concern.

This patent application seems to contradict that and follows the layout that has been advocated by Lordstown Motors in its Endurance pickup truck. The technical layout, which some might consider redundant as it removes the luxury in the wheel hub motor’s packaging, coupling a solid shaft to the hub motorS. Lordstown delivered the first batch of Endurance trucks in December 2022 after numerous delays.

However, besides Durability, efficiency remains the hub motor’s main selling point by far. Lightyear claims that this technology has enabled Most efficient production drivetrainIn the world. Aptera is also using them to achieve what it claims will be 1,000-mile range in its flagship version of the EV—with performance to rival sports car.

Ford patent image shows a solid shaft with EV . hub motor

Ford patent image shows a solid shaft with EV . hub motor

Lordstown, Lightyear and Aptera all use magnetic engines Slovenian company Elaphethe company has been producing in-wheel motors for electric vehicle manufacturers, with the current generation of designs, since 2018.

McLaren Applied Technologies recently said it was developing an “in-wheel propulsion system” using Elaphe . engine with the UK company’s inverters for “ultra-sensitive and highly efficient electric vehicles”.

Ford’s use of solid shafts suggests something more solid, but perhaps different from Lightning, an application the automaker considers hub motors unsuitable. Or, as is often the case with automotive engineering patents, it could simply protect intellectual property without any solid production plans.

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