Michelin Will Active Wheel Technology to Change the Meaning of "Car"
Heuliez, best known for their producing versions of the Peugeot and Citroen, will begin production of the Will sometimes next year and plans to roll out the assembly lines at the Cerizay plant "several thousand" of them each year. The model produced by the manufacturer will feature two Active Wheels in the front and two regular ones at the back.
The system integrates electric motors, brakes and suspension functions inside each wheel. Each of the two wheels have a pair of electric motors, one used to spin the wheel and transmit power to the ground, while the other acts like an active suspension system by controlling an actuator connected to a damping system.
You might wonder what it so special about it. How does it help? Or, does it even help? It does. By using the Active Wheel Technology, the need for a gearbox, clutch, transmission shaft, differential and shock absorbers is eliminated. And there's more.
Useless to say how much the elimination of these systems will improve the car's weight and aerodynamics. And if you haven't guess it yet, there will be no need for an engine. Not in the classical sense, at least. Why would you, when you have one 40 horsepower engine on each wheel?
The huge benefits of the technology are obvious to all. But those who worry the good old combustion engine will sometimes be replaced by the Active Wheel Technology should stop doing so. The technology is decades away from being adopted by the masses, partly because other environmentaly friendly, less radical technologies are available.
And there will always be a place for a technology that explodes gasoline in a small engine chamber in the consumers hearts, despite the fact that Michelin hopes that Active Wheel will encounter the same success as its 1895 innovation: the automobile tire.
Still, Active Wheel Technology will make the wheels take on an entirely new role. Man's most important invention moves to the next level, as now it will not only help the vehicle move forward, but will actively take part to the movement.
What we can't get our head around is: if we hit o pothole at high speeds and damage one of the wheels, will this turn from a simple flat into a complete engine failure? Will we need to go to MIT to learn how to change a tire?