July 8, 2022
Ford has reportedly filed a patent application for an all-wheel drive system that may be the next evolution in torque vectoring systems.
Ford’s new all-wheel drive system uses three clutches engaged by a controller to vary how much power goes to each wheel. The filing indicates that one clutch would connect (or disconnect) the axle to the driveshaft, while the other two clutches would connect the half shafts on the second axle. The controller would be used to determine when to engage or disengage the three clutches.
While the patent application itself does not speculate on potential uses of the system, it is possible that Ford may use it as a new form of torque vectoring system. Ford notes in the filing that all wheel drive systems are used to improve vehicle handling, and that torque vectoring systems, which vary the torque applied to each half shaft, are generally used to improve vehicle handling around corners. While this is normally accomplished either with differentials or braking systems, Ford’s proposed system would be one of the first of its kind to use clutches.
Authors: Emily Groper and Mark Leonard