Nexteer Automotive is supplying its new single-pinion Electric Power Steering (EPS) to Citroen for the Citroen DS3 Racing, a 202PS (149kW) limited edition of its premium compact car, the Citroen DS3. The system is a version of the technology fitted in the standard Citroen DS3, tuned to meet the demands of performance enthusiasts. It will be manufactured at Nexteer's plant in Tychy, Poland, which has recently received a €40 million upgrade to provide eight several vehicle launches with EPS systems.
Vehicle manufacturers are replacing hydraulic steering systems with on-demand electrically powered systems to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to five per cent. Single-pinion systems package the EPS mechanism in the engine compartment, further away from the driver than conventional column-mounted EPS systems.
"It's a powerful endorsement for our EPS to feature on such a focused driver's car as the DS3 Racing," says Laurent Bresson, Nexteer Automotive's European & Global Sales Executive Director. "The micron-close attention to detail in our manufacturing and the expertise of our in-house software people have helped the engineers at Citroen Racing to create a car with exceptional steering feel."
Good steering feel is achieved by overcoming often conflicting requirements: engineers must balance the need to reduce friction and to manage tolerances between components throughout the system. The conventional approach is to use spring loaded bushings, but through a combination of materials expertise and precision engineering and manufacturing, Nexteer has succeeded in eliminating these. The steering specialist's invention of a polyamide eccentric rack bearing has played a key role in improving its single-pinion system's refinement and sense of directness.
Nexteer's success is based upon keeping control of as much of the design and manufacturing process as possible. All electronic development and software engineering activity is kept in-house. "Having development and manufacturing entirely in-house gives us superior flexibility and quality control and allows us to more tightly integrate our systems to provide improved quality, packaging, weight and performance," explains Bresson.
This has required substantial investment in R&D, product engineering and manufacturing capabilities but strengthens the company's position at a time when growing pressure to reduce CO2 emissions is increasing the demand for EPS. Nexteer is the only manufacturer of such systems with production experience across the complete range of passenger vehicles, from city cars to large SUVs.Published 17 December 2010