Ford eWheelDrive to make sideways parking possible

The Ford Motor Company has unveiled the first prototype of a groundbreaking concept car which could allow for the mainstream introduction of, among other things, the sideways parking of vehicles.

Although it may be a while until drivers see the technology incorporated into Ford UK models and rolled out across the country's range of models, the so-called 'eWheelDrive' project has been raising many eyebrows around the world of motoring since the idea behind it was announced, providing another example of Ford's embracing of pioneering new technology.

The eWheelDrive, which has been successfully demonstrated in what looks from the outside like a standard Ford Fiesta for sale on forecourts around the world, has been developed in collaboration with the German automotive component manufacturer Schaeffler, and its main innovation is the integration of individual electric motors into each of the car's rear wheels.

These in-wheel motors mean that room is freed up under the bonnet where engine and transmission components would usually be stored, which could potentially result in the design of smaller cars which are no less comfortable than current models, making parking easier in congested cities.

The intelligent steering system will also be able to help with tricky parking situations, as the wheel hub drive will be so advanced as to allow for previously unimaginable features like sideways parking, as well as more reliable breaking, cooling and stability. On top of this, it is expected that eWheelDrive cars will benefit from zero emissions, further adding to their broad appeal.

Discussing the innovation, the director of research and advanced engineering for Ford in Europe, Pim van der Jagt, said that the eWheelDrive gives his organisation the chance to 'rethink the city car without restrictions', and that it will create vehicles with 'very efficient packaging and exceptional manoeuvrability' for future generations to enjoy.

Image credit: Nick Ares (