Parking will become a cinch when a new hi-tech steering system arrives to double the amount of steering travel on the front wheels and slashes metres from the turning circle.
A radical new steering system called EasyTurn – which doubles the amount of turning movement on the front wheels of a car – is set to transform parallel parking and U-turns around the world.
German engineering company, ZF, has developed the EasyTurn system and has trialled it successfully on a BMW i3 electric city car.
It has yet to announce any production plans, but it promises to be ideal for large luxury cars and the coming wave of electric city cars.
It will also be perfect for anyone who struggles with the dreaded reverse-parking component of the driver license test in Australia – or anyone who needs to make a U-turn in tight city or suburban streets.
The technical detail of the EasyTurn system transforms a conventional MacPherson strut front suspension with an extra link to boost the turning capability of the front wheels, increasing the turn angle from 40 to 80 degrees.
It slashes the turning circle of a typical small passenger car from 10 metres to just seven metres.
The only drawback is it is currently not suitable for front-wheel drive cars, because it would over-stress the driveshafts linking the gearbox to the wheels. But that will change on electric vehicles which use in-wheel motors.
“EasyTurn is suitable for vehicles with rear-wheel drive, the usual set-up in electric cars,” said the head of axle system development at ZF, Knut Heidsieck.
“It is ideally suited for volume segments because the MacPherson axle is compatible with around 80 per cent of today’s common platforms.”
ZF says EasyTurn is best with the company’s steer-by-wire system, which allows minimal lock at the wheel with maximum turn at the road.
“With steer-by-wire, we can allow the steering to react differently, depending on the driving speed, so that the steering is less sensitive at high speed than when manoeuvring,” said Heidsieck.
Paul Gover has been a motoring journalist for more than 40 years, working on newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. A qualified general news journalist and sports reporter, his passion for motoring led him to Wheels, Motor, Car Australia, Which Car and Auto Action magazines. He is a champion racing driver as well as a World Car of the Year judge.