Automotive Engineering - February 2024 - 13

TECHNOLOGY REPORT
PROPULSION
Hyundai's Uni Wheel creates space for EV powertrains
Hyundai Motor Group's visual design
team has been on a roll in creating unusual
and attractive passenger vehicles.
Now, the automaker's engineering team
has come up with its own unique creation:
the Universal Wheel Drive System.
The Uni Wheel is a significant development
for both Hyundai Motor
Company and the Kia Corporation,
which jointly unveiled the device at a
" Uni Wheel Tech Day " in Seoul, South
Korea, in November. The Uni Wheel is
not a hub motor, but it does move some
of the main drive system components to
the available room inside the wheel hub.
Hyundai calls the Uni Wheel a " functionally
integrated wheel drive system. "
The Uni Wheel has a newly designed
planetary gear configuration made up
of a central sun gear and four surrounding
pinion gears. These all sit inside a
ring gear that makes up the outside of
the Uni Wheel and then rotates the tire.
The pinion gears are arranged so that,
with their multi-link connections, they
enable " Uni Wheel's multi-axis movement
to allow a wide range of suspension
articulation, " the company said.
The Uni Wheel also does away with
traditional CV joints to transfer power
from the motor to the wheel at a constant
speed. CVs themselves found a home in
Hyundai's Uni Wheel has four pinion gears on each side of a sun gear, with multi-link connections
between each.
The gears that
make up the Uni Wheel
fit inside traditionally
unused space, which then
creates more room in
the vehicle.
EVs because they have long been used
with ICE powertrains, but Hyundai wanted
to use some of the space near the wheels
for other components. To do this, engineers
put small, individual motors near
each wheel and moved the reduction gear
to inside the wheel hub. They also reduced
the length of the drive shafts.
One of the reasons Hyundai wanted
Hyundai's Uni Wheel has four pinion gears
on each side of a sun gear, with multi-link
connections between each.
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
to invent the Uni Wheel was to create
more room in an EV's interior, either for
powertrain components, more cargo
space or a larger flat-floor configuration.
The space benefits are real, but
many questions remain about the Uni
Wheel's durability, effects on unsprung
weight, issues with heat dissipation and
potential repair costs.
A Hyundai spokesperson told SAE
Media that it's too early to discuss these
aspects in detail but said that price competitiveness
is not one of the ways the
Uni Wheel will distinguish itself. " If the Uni
Wheel is applied to replace the CV joint
and the reducer that make up the existing
system, there will be no significant difference
in cost, " the spokesperson said.
Hyundai Motor and Kia have applied
for or registered eight patents related
to Uni Wheel globally, including in
South Korea, the U.S. and Europe.
Sebastian Blanco
February 2024 13
ALL IMAGES: HYUNDAI

Automotive Engineering - February 2024

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Automotive Engineering - February 2024 - INTRO1
Automotive Engineering - February 2024 - SPONSOR1
Automotive Engineering - February 2024 - CVR1
Automotive Engineering - February 2024 - CVR2
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