Hyundai Mobis’ e-corner module can turn car wheels 90 degrees

When Hyundai Mobis took its e-corner module to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, Digital Trends wrote that Hyundai touted the new tech as “the first integrated, modular platform designed specifically for electric and eco-friendly vehicles,” and that the component “should be developed in its entirety by 2021.” Here we are in 2021, and Hyundai Mobis is showing off its near-production prototype of the e-corner module. First, here’s what it is: The combination of a wheel with its suspension, braking, and steering necessities in a single, free-standing assembly. A vehicle fitted with four e-corner modules could look and run just like a traditional EV in everyday use, but the driving functions are all by-wire, a central ECU ensuring the modules work together.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s an OEM version of what Israeli firm Ree has been working on for a decade with its Reecorner modules. The promise of the Reecorner module is the same as the promise of the e-corner module, unlocking the full capability, flexibility, and cost savings of a true skateboard platform.

Hyundai Mobis has majorly upgraded at least one function in the latest version of the e-corner. At CES 2018, the module could turn through a maximum angle of 30 degrees. Now, it can turn up to 90 degrees. One day, parallel parking won’t be a cause for alarm nor fear, and will require nothing more than driving sideways for about 10 feet. And crab walking and tank turns will be as easy in an Ioniq as in a Hummer or Rivian.

That day could come as soon as 2025 in some part of the world. Hyundai Mobis says it’s working on a real-world skateboard chassis to attach four e-corner modules to, and wants to have that completed by 2023. Assuming that goes well, and so too the reliability tests and mass production business case, by 2025, the world’s seventh-largest automotive supplier want to start taking “mass production orders from global car makers.” We’d expect at least three of those car makers to be found not far away on the Hyundai Mobis campus. The supplier says that same year it will also be working up a Purpose Built Vehicle — the autonomous living-room-on-wheels kind — as a showcase for the e-corner.