Ford patents solid shaft hub-motor
Ford patents solid shaft hub-motor Ford has filed for a patent on a solid shaft and hub motor combination for electric vehicles that is remarkably similar to what the automaker dismissed as non-viable for its F-150 Lightning pickup truck.
As described in the application, which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 9, a solid axle similar to that currently used in many current pickup trucks would be combined with in-hub motors. A hub-motor unit would be mounted at each wheel, giving the vehicle four-wheel drive Ford patents solid shaft hub-motor.
Clutches would control the distribution of torque, allowing 100% of the torque from one engine to be sent to the other on a given axle if only a single wheel has traction, Ford said in the filing, adding that ”this can be particularly useful when one wheel is from the ground, such as during rock crawling.” It is also possible to slip both clutches on a given shaft, depending on the application.
Ford patent image showing a solid axle with EV hub motors Ford patents solid shaft hub-motor
The use of solid axles and reference to rock crawling suggests some sort of truck designed with off-road driving in mind. But Ford said in 2021 that it had considered, and then removed, in-wheel engines due to durability concerns, due to the engines’ more exposed outboard position. Friction brake performance when towing was also an issue Ford patents solid shaft hub-motor.
This patent application seems to contradict that, following the layout advocated by Lordstown Motors in its Endurance pickup. The engineering layout, which some may see as redundant because it takes away from the packaging elegance of in-wheel hub motors, pairs a solid axle with hub motors. Lordstown delivered the first batch of Endurance trucks in December 2022 after many delays.
Endurance aside, efficiency has been the main selling point for hub motors to date. Lightyear claimed the technology enabled the most efficient production powertrain in the world. Aptera is also using them to achieve what it claims will be 1,000 miles of range in the top version of its EV – with performance that rivals sports cars.
Ford patent image showing a solid axle with EV hub motors
Lordstown, Lightyear and Aptera all use motors from the Slovenian company Elaphe, which has been making in-wheel motors for electric car manufacturers, with its current generation of the design, since 2018.
McLaren Applied Technologies recently said it is developing an ”in-wheel propulsion system” that uses Elaphe motors with the British company’s inverters for ”highly efficient and hyper-responsive electric vehicles.”
Ford’s use of solid axles suggests something more robust, but perhaps different from the Lightning, an application for which the automaker deemed hub motors unsuitable. Or, as is quite often the case with technical vehicle patents, it may simply be to protect intellectual property rights with no firm production plans at all Ford patents solid shaft hub-motor.