TRW Automotive will supply its Belt Drive Electric Power Steering (EPS) system to a next generation mid-sized Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) being launched by Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Company in 2015. Sport Utility Vehicles are the fasting growing vehicle segment in the rapidly expanding Chinese market with a 43% sales increase from 2013 compared to 2012 according to IHS data.
“TRW’s Belt Drive system is an ideal choice for mid to large size SUVs as larger vehicles require greater steering rack forces,” said Peter Lake, executive vice president, Sales and Business Development TRW. “As Chinese consumers continue to desire the greater flexibility and utility of SUVs, TRW has the local capacity to satisfy demand for these vehicles.”
TRW has created a regional production base for providing a cost effective source for the fuel-saving and emission reducing EPS technologies.
Over the last two years, TRW has installed equipment to produce and assemble belt drive units at its Anting facility. Line capacity is in the range of 800,000 units annually.
TRW offers two Electrically Powered Steering (EPS) solutions to cover the full vehicle platform range, which consume power only when steering assist is needed. The first is the column drive unit which is mounted on the steering column and the second is belt drive where the assist power is applied directly to the rack with a belt drive and ball nut mechanism. Significant fuel economy and CO2 emissions benefits can be realized with both systems when compared with traditional hydraulic power steering. The technology can deliver a fuel saving of 0.3 to 0.4 l/100km, with a corresponding reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 7-8 g/km.
“We have already launched our column drive technology with both China domestic and international customers and are now introducing our latest innovation – EPS belt drive – in China,” said Lake. “We are pleased to be supporting China’s largest SUV manufacturer, Great Wall, as they launch new vehicles into the market.”
I’m not sure that Chinese customers are fuel economy-oriented but more cost-oriented. Do you think that many OEMs will make the choice to integrate more expensive technologies to save fuel as Great Wall Motor Company has done with the TRW electric power steering system?