Hyundai Mobis, a parts division of the South Korean car manufacturer, has recently shared a video featuring their upcoming technology called e-Corner that’s a little disconcerting in how it makes an IONIQ 5 move.
This system allows all four wheels of a car its fitted to to turn up to 90 degrees, either all together or individually. The result is an impressive set of capabilities that are quite remarkable, if a little unusual.
The most obvious advantage here is related to parking in tight spaces. In the video, a Hyundai IONIQ 5 is depicted approaching an empty parking space and then turns all four wheels of the car at a 90-degree angle to the curb before effortlessly sliding into the spot. This process doesn’t require any backing up or complicated steering manoeuvres and is referred to as “crab driving” by Hyundai.
Another wheel-bending manoeuvre is called the “zero turn,” involves the IONIQ 5 turning its wheels outward to spin in place without performing a U-turn. This could be especially useful in tight parking spaces.
Among all the demonstrated capabilities in the video, parallel parking and 180-degree pirouette appear to be the most practical in everyday situations. However, it is not clear whether Hyundai has any plans to release the e-Corner technology to the market.
The video also shows the IONIQ 5 performing a “pivot turn” where the front-right wheel stays in place while the back of the car swings outward. Interestingly, this concept is not entirely new, as car manufacturers have been experimenting with similar devices to swing the rear of a car into a parking space since the 1930s.
The possibility of having this kind of technology is largely due to the development of electric vehicles. Though most EVs have an electric motor placed on one or both of their axles, it’s also possible to install motors inside the wheels, similar to those found in electric bikes or e-scooters.
This configuration is not common in the automotive industry, and Lordstown Motors, a startup that produces electric pickup trucks, may be the only company in the US that offers vehicles with such “in-hub” motors.