ZF Friedrichshafen has introduced the Smart Urban Vehicle concept. The German auto parts maker has produced the Smart Urban Vehicle concept in-house and is based on a standard hatchback. As the name suggests, has been designed to be driven in and around town. The all-electric concept boasts of several features that should make it ideal for ambling around in busy city spaces.
The first amongst these is a specially designed front axle that allows steering angles of up to 75 degrees. This should make manoeuvring in traffic and parking in tight spots a doddle. The concept also gets an all-electric rear-axle drive eTB (electric Twist Beam) and is mounted close to the wheels. This type of drive enables the basic layout of the Smart Urban Vehicle to be redesigned quite easily. The concept also boasts of two semi-automated driver assistance functions, the first amongst which is the Smart Parking Assist. This tech helps in manoeuvring the car into small parking spaces, that too via remote-control through a smartphone or smartwatch. Then there is the PreVision Cloud Assist, which is a cloud-based assistance function. This system helps reduce the torque, for instance, before entering a turn and throttles back to reduce the speed without any mechanical braking.
The steering wheel of ZF’s concept features a hands-on detection (HOD) function and gets an OLED display in the steering wheel rim which is in the driver’s direct field of view. This display shows, for instance, how much torque the driver assistance system cuts back before entering a turn and how much it provides post the turn. The HOD uses a capacitive system that covers the entire steering wheel and detects whether the driver is holding the steering wheel. The electronic control unit built into the steering wheel converts the identified state into a digital signal and sends this to the vehicle via the LIN (Local Interconnect Network). Depending on the situation, the system alerts the driver or activates the available assistance systems.
The Smart Urban Vehicle by ZF is powered by a compact drive unit that’s located in the left and right wheel, each producing 40 kilowatts. They develop a maximum of 1400 Nm of axle torque and a can reach a 21,000 rpm. ZF’s concept has been tailor-made for urban traffic commute, but can hit a top speed of 150 km/h.