With more EV models set to arrive at your Hyundai or Kia dealer in the future, it only makes sense that the automakers are working hard to revolutionize the market. Hyundai and Kia belong to the same parent company, and they have recently unveiled a revolutionary new part called the Uni Wheel. This would eliminate the need for a CV joint with an EV.
Improves Interior Space
A vehicle’s interior space depends largely on what mechanical parts are necessary. For example, EV models have more overall trunk space due to the lack of a combustion engine.
Similarly, Hyundai and Kia say that this new Uni Wheel drive component will increase interior space inside a vehicle.
The Uni Wheel moniker is short for Universal Wheel Drive System. It was recently unveiled in Seoul, Korea, at an event showcasing technology by the two automakers. The Uni Wheel encompasses the usual drive system components into one part. It’s also different from the in-wheel electric motor, which has been in use for a long time.
That system features a small electric motor in each hub with individual self-contained wheels. The wheels spin when they receive power from the vehicle’s computers.
How the Uni Wheel System Works
The Uni Wheel system consists of an electric motor on the chassis, but it removes the need for CV joints. CV, or constant velocity, joints are couplings in the drive shafts on both EV and gas vehicles. CV joints allow the wheels to articulate up and down when riding over rough roads.
They also keep the wheels powered while going around turns. To remove the need for CV joints, the Uni Wheel is connected directly to the shaft of the electric motor. A planetary gear set rotates a ring gear that turns the vehicle’s wheels and drives the vehicle. Reduction gears regulate the amount of power sent to the wheels on most standard systems, but on the Uni Wheel, these are integrated into the wheel hub.
To put it simply, the Uni Wheel keeps the drive shaft straight rather than having it move like with CV joints. Instead, the wheel itself moves up and down.
More Efficient Than CV Joints
Compared to CV joints, the Uni Wheel is more efficient. In the former system, the driveshaft angle increases over rough roads, which leads to CV joint wear and tear and a visit to your Kia dealer for service. Using an air suspension combined with the Uni Wheel would increase stability on bumpy roads. The automakers also revealed that enclosing the reduction gear in the hub should increase torque output.
The Uni Wheel system is still in the testing stage, but the automakers say that it should be useful even for smaller wheeled items like bicycles or wheelchairs. The independently controlled wheels should allow for high levels of stability for all performance applications.
You probably won’t see this system on any vehicle at your Hyundai or Kia dealer anytime soon, but the companies have already registered patents in South Korea, Europe, and the USA.
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