Hyundai and Kia have unveiled an innovative EV drivetrain design called the Uni Wheel during their “Uni Wheel Tech Day” event in Seoul. This new Universal Wheel Drive system relocates primary components to the wheel hub, creating extra interior space within the vehicle.
While electric vehicles (EVs) have revolutionized design, the traditional drivetrain has persisted. EVs typically maintain the power transmission method found in internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, despite replacing the engine and transmission with a motor and reduction gear. Hyundai and Kia’s Uni Wheel system is a paradigm-shifting solution, placing main drive components within the EV’s wheel hub.
Unlike previous attempts by other developers, the Uni Wheel utilizes a unique planetary gear configuration with a central sun gear, pinion gears on each side, and a surrounding ring gear. The system’s efficiency remains high, regardless of wheel movement or suspension articulation, providing a wide range of motion.
This innovation increases platform space, contributing to more spacious EV interiors, including cargo and trunk space. Additionally, the Uni Wheel system enables non-conventional seating configurations, offering design flexibility for future autonomous driving integration.
While the timeline for implementing this technology in commercial EVs remains uncertain, Hyundai and Kia have already applied for and registered eight patents related to Uni Wheel in South Korea, the US, and Europe. The companies express their commitment to perfecting the Uni Wheel system to provide customers with a unique and innovative mobility experience.
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