New wheel models might deliver car prices down — ScienceDai…
Autos may very well be affordably produced for all kinds of specialised functions utilizing a classy wheel unit developed by researchers on the College of Waterloo.
The self-contained unit combines a wheel and an electrical motor with braking, suspension, steering and a management system in a single module designed to be bolted to any car body.
It might free producers from making large investments to develop these elements from scratch and allow the economical manufacturing of specialised automobiles in even small portions.
“The idea is modularity and plug-and-play control capability,” mentioned Amir Khajepour, a mechanical and mechatronics engineering professor at Waterloo. “Our wheel unit, in a sense, is a full vehicle with only one wheel. All that’s missing is a body.”
Automotive researchers first utilized the idea to electrical, two-seater city automobiles, which promise to ease congestion and scale back air pollution, however make up solely a tiny fraction of gross sales due to excessive costs, area limitations and security considerations.
Mass-produced wheel models would considerably scale back manufacturing prices whereas additionally creating area for passengers that will in any other case be dedicated to mechanical elements similar to steering columns.
To enhance the soundness of the tall, slim automobiles, researchers additionally designed and prototyped the models — which weigh about 40 kilograms and have about 25 horsepower — to allow energetic wheel cambering, or tilting.
“Companies will be able to produce a smaller car that is cheaper, too,” mentioned Khajepour, director of the Mechatronic Automobile Techniques Lab. “Right now, we are not there. You have to pay more to get a smaller car, to get less.”
The subsequent step within the analysis includes scaling up the wheel unit, technically referred to as a nook module, for big utility and business automobiles.
That might pave the way in which for cheaper manufacturing of low-volume, specialised automobiles with custom-made our bodies in fields together with mining, forestry and rescue operations.
“It’s an economy of scale problem,” Khajepour mentioned. “Corner modules would allow us, without enormous development costs, to make vehicles that are specific for each application, for each function, by concentrating only on the design of the body and the user interface.”
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