Exploring the use of motor systems for luxury vehicles

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The Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland is renowned for showcasing futuristic vehicle designs. At the 2019 show, Kia revealed its concept car, Imagine, which took innovative design to the next level. While these vehicles are often far from mass produced possibilities, some of the features are already integrated into high-end luxury vehicles. Here, Stewart Goulding from mechatronic drive system supplier EMS Ltd, explains more.  

Kia’s Imagine polarised the Geneva Motor Show, primarily because of its interior design. One key element was a 21 smartphone-screen dashboard that offered a distorted take on the streamlined screens that we’re accustomed to today. 

Imagine was, in some ways, poking fun at the current desire for vehicles with all the bells and whistles. However, there are already some vehicles that offer luxurious technology perks and home comforts beyond those typically expected — often with an equally luxurious price tag. 

But, with a top of the range cost, vehicle owners expect top of the range service, too. Whether it’s through safety systems that protect passengers, premium material specification or the integration of unexpected technologies, for luxury vehicle brands, the best isn’t something to just settle for. 

Go, go gadget

Vehicle owners want to enjoy the same technologies on the go as they do at home. With the growing trend of in-car entertainment systems that feature large, high-resolution flat screens, many vehicle manufacturers are looking to integrate systems like this into the overall interior design — rather than adding them on as a feature.

Many manufacturers opt for motorised screens and displays, so they can be hidden from view for aesthetic or safety purposes. But, again, these systems must meet the standards set by vehicle manufacturers and their customers.

Automated opening and closing mechanisms provide a sophisticated, yet seamless, function to the screens. They are required to last for years with minimal maintenance, which means they need a quality motorised drive system. 

Because the space for installing the mechanism of the display system is often limited, small and light-weight drive solutions are preferred. However, these drive systems must also have superior torque. This is to cope with the forces associated with the opening and closing of the monitors, all of which must be flawlessly integrated while maintaining maximum durability. 

Motors for motors

While they cannot be deemed “extreme”, the environmental conditions inside the vehicle must be considered if motor systems are to work as planned. The selected systems should not be adversely affected by vibrations or terrain issues, nor can temperature be an influencing factor on functionality.

Expert micromotor manufacturers, like FAULHABER, specialise in durable and reliable motors for the automotive industry. However, by working with suppliers that integrate world-renowned motors into bespoke drive systems, vehicle developers can harness the potential of high-power density, extreme efficiency and low noise levels into luxury automotive applications. 

EMS Ltd is the sole UK supplier of FAULHABER motors and has in-house bespoke design and manufacturing capabilities. For one automotive application, EMS was able to develop and supply the drive unit for a rotating multimedia display interface, which maximised the potential screen size for the minimal space across the vehicle’s interior. 

These same systems can also be adapted and integrated into other motorised interior vehicle features, such as electric seat positioning systems, motorised sunroof shades, wing mirror adjustors and even automatic passenger assistance steps. All of these features not only add a sense of luxury to the vehicle, the standard of the motor system used adds to the customer experience.

The Kia Imagine 21 smartphone screen dashboard may have been a tongue-in-cheek reference to the technology-integrated vehicles of today. However, many vehicles are not so far away from offering innovative and cutting-edge technology in their interiors, with the perfect motor system to match.