These days a majority of vehicles utilizing front-wheel drive, including the ever-popular Ford Focus. A German company has converted a Ford Fiesta into an all-electric, rear-wheel drive vehicle using wheel hub motors, changing the driving dynamics of this popular commuter car. Maybe this is the way to get people to drive EVs en masse.
The project was designed in close cooperation with Ford, though it isn’t an official Blue Oval project, but rather the brainchild of Germany-based Schaeffler. The Fiesta is a popular sub-compact that, like most cars, uses a gas engine to drive the front wheels. Ford hasn’t made an electric version of the Fiesta, focusing instead on the Focus Electric, which hasn’t proven very popular with consumers.
But an electric Fiesta that is rear-wheel drive? That sounds like a fun and practical little car, and it uses wheel-mounted hub motors not unlike those developed by Protean. While less powerful than the Protean motors, the two liquid-cooled hub motors on the Fiesta produce about 90 horsepower and over 500 ft-lbs of torque. Who couldn’t have fun with that setup?
So far EVs have met a timid consumer market, and marketing electric carrs as equivalent to standard vehicles doesn’t seem to be drawing in as many customers as hoped. Maybe a new approach, with rear-wheel drive and an emphasis on fun, will have a better effect? Either way, this story leaves me pining for the days when even the most pedestrian automobile could spin the rear wheels and leave a cloud of smoke in its wake.