Thursday, May 23, 2024
NewsMore EVs Driving More Rear Wheel Steering Says ZF: Report

More EVs Driving More Rear Wheel Steering Says ZF: Report

Expect RWS to become more common as EV sales grow

  • Largest supplier expects to double RWS sales

  • RWS counteracts longer EV wheelbases


One new automotive feature is growing almost as fast as the models that are driving it. Rear-wheel steering isn’t new, but it’s being offered on more and more EVs, and that’s driving demand for the hardware that makes it possible.

“There is a clear trend toward offering rear-wheel steering that is being caused by the move to e-mobility,” Pete Holdmann, ZF’s incoming board member for its Chassis Solutions division, told Automotive News Europe.

ZF told ANE that demand is so strong that it is adding assembly lines to meet demand. New lines at plants in Mexico and China are coming online to help out the five lines at the company’s main plant in Lebring, Austria.

Holdmann told ANE that he expected sales volume of rear-wheel steering systems to double in the next two years, or around 300m euros per year. The company has built 1.64 million units of what it calls Active Kinematics Control since 2013.

The increased demand comes from the longer wheelbases of electric cars compared with their gas counterparts. The long wheelbase (because there’s no gas engine to fit under the hood) means more cabin space. It also means a wider turning circle, and that’s where rear-wheel steering comes in.

In city situations, turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction can cut a turning radius up to 10 percent. At higher speeds, the same system helps improve vehicle stability. The system is offered on sports cars and luxury models, even pickups, because of its dual effects.

 

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