Hyundai and Kia Redefine Electric Vehicles with Uni Wheel Innovation

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation's unveiling of the Universal Wheel Drive System, known as 'Uni Wheel', marks a groundbreaking development in electric vehicle (EV) technology. Presented at the 'Uni Wheel Tech Day' in Seoul, this innovative system represents a significant shift from traditional vehicle design, promising to reshape the future of mobility.

The core innovation of the Uni Wheel lies in its integrated wheel drive system, which relocates essential drive components into the wheel hub. This novel arrangement stands in contrast to the conventional power transmission in internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and standard EVs, where components like the engine, transmission, drive shafts, and constant velocity (CV) joints are centrally located.

Hyundai Kia Uni Wheel image 1
Hyundai and Kia's 'Uni Wheel' System: A novel EV tech, integrating drive components into wheel hubs, unveiled at Seoul Tech Day

One of the most striking benefits of the Uni Wheel system is the remarkable increase in interior space it offers. By moving the EV’s reduction gear inside the wheel hub and situating individual motors near each wheel, the Uni Wheel system eliminates the need for long drive shafts. This change not only frees up a significant amount of interior space but also allows for a flat-floor configuration. Such a design opens up numerous possibilities for vehicle interiors, ranging from expanded cargo areas to entirely new seating layouts, especially relevant in the age of autonomous driving.

Performance-wise, Uni Wheel offers a multitude of advancements. The system employs a special planetary gear configuration that ensures high torque output while allowing for a more compact electric motor. This setup enhances the vehicle’s dynamic capabilities, offering improved steering and stability through advanced torque vectoring.

Moreover, the Uni Wheel system excels in terms of durability and ride comfort. Unlike traditional drive systems, which can lose efficiency and durability over rough terrains, the Uni Wheel maintains its performance irrespective of the wheel movement. This feature is especially beneficial for ensuring a comfortable ride across various surfaces.

Uni Wheel boosts EV interior space by integrating gears in wheel hubs, enabling flat floors and versatile layouts, while enhancing performance, durability, and comfort

The versatility of the Uni Wheel system extends beyond conventional passenger vehicles. It can be adapted for different types of EVs, including high-performance models, and is scalable to various wheel sizes. This adaptability makes it suitable for a wide array of mobility devices, including personal mobility aids and delivery robots. Its ability to adjust the wheel rotation axis further expands its potential, allowing for innovative mobility solutions that can navigate complex environments, like staircases.

In their pursuit of refining the Uni Wheel system, Hyundai and Kia are focusing on enhancing its efficiency and durability through continuous testing and development. Their efforts include optimizing the reduction gear ratio and upgrading the lubrication and cooling systems. The companies have already filed several patents related to this technology in South Korea, the United States, and Europe, underscoring their commitment to this innovative venture.

At the 2023 Autos Awards, Hyundai got the top spot as the Best Brand for your Buck, acclaimed for its feature-rich lineup including the Venue, Elantra, Sonata, Tucson, and Hyundai Kona, all priced to offer great value to budget-conscious buyers.

Discover how Kia's EV6 sleek AWD model got into the top 10 best AWD electric vehicles of 2023 list.

Source: Hyundai

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