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Hyundai Mobis tests all-directional electric vehicles

By Kim Yoon-kyoung & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
Hyundai Mobis road-tests an electric vehicle in South Korea for in-wheel motor drive and a 90-degree rotating wheel. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Mobis
Hyundai Mobis road-tests an electric vehicle in South Korea for in-wheel motor drive and a 90-degree rotating wheel. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Mobis

SEOUL, March 20 (UPI) -- South Korea's automotive parts maker Hyundai Mobis announced it has begun testing an all-directional drive system specifically for electric vehicles.

The Seoul-based company said Sunday the new system, embedded into four-wheel independent-drive electric cars, features in-wheel motors.

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The result is that the four wheels move independently, enabling crab-like shifts for parallel parking and pivot steering for turning around in very narrow spaces.

Additionally, the in-wheel motor will contribute to increasing the range of electric cars by around 20%, thanks to the more efficient use of the wheels, compared to conventional cars, the auto maker said.

The company, which has been researching in-wheel motor drive since 2010, is conducting these tests in conjunction with its parent company, Hyundai Motor.

It was late last year that Hyundai Mobis first announced the development of a 90-degree rotating wheel, which allows for lateral parking and sideways movement. Now the technology has been applied to EVs.

"We plan to complete the development of the in-wheel drive system by the end of this year in order to get ready for mass production," Hyundai Mobis Senior Vice President Oh Heung-seop said in a statement.

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Industry experts say in-wheel motor drives and 90-degree rotating wheels have been considered the final pieces to the making of electrified vehicles.

"There are two big missions for EVs. One is the advanced maneuverability, like lateral drivability, and the other is improved range," Daelim University automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo told UPI News Korea.

"Hyundai Mobis appears to be testing both concepts at the same time with its in-wheel motor drive and 90-degree rotating wheels. EV companies have been targeting the two features for a while now, however, a full commercialization date is yet uncertain," he said.

The share price of Hyundai Mobis was down 2.3% Monday on the South Korean stock exchange.

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