Toyota Research Institute (TRI) unveiled its in-wheel motor EV prototype vehicle named Global Research Innovation Platform (GRIP) at the TRI Expo held on February 15, 2023 in Japan.
The prototype is a test bed designed for experiments, and it is equipped with a Four-Wheel Steering (4WS) system that's capable of in-phase control. The system can turn the front and rear wheels in the same direction, while reverse-phase control can turn the front and rear wheels in the opposite direction.
The biggest feature of GRIP is that it allows for the free switch between in-phase control and reverse-phase control for the front and rear wheels on a computer. It can turn the front and rear wheels in the same direction, allowing for a "crab walk." The reverse-phase control, on the other hand, allows very tight turns with a very short turning radius.
If that sounds familiar, the GMC Hummer EV has a similar tech, which allows the electric truck to do crab walks that can be used when off-roading.
GRIP has an in-wheel motor to avoid interfering with steering control, and it can continue to rotate in circles. The frame of the car is made of iron so that post-processing is easy, and various experiments can be performed. Each part is also bolted, so it is possible to change the wheelbase of the vehicle.
The video atop this page shows the presentation wherein the prototype had undergone tests in various courses. One of the courses was a slalom course, and the capability of the prototype to "drift" was also showcased in the presentation.
The GRIP EV prototype of Toyota is still under research and development, and it is unclear whether it will be released to the public in the future. However, the technology behind it could be used in other vehicles and applications, making driving safer and more efficient.