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Individual-wheel drive or IWD is a wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all wheels to receive torque from several motors independent of each other. This term is coined to identify those electric vehicles whereby each wheel is driven by its own individual electric motor.
These vehicles inherently have a range of characteristics built-in that are more commonly attributed to Four-wheel drive vehicles or vehicles with extensive control systems. These characteristics can be:
- Four-wheel drive, i.e. the distribution of available power to all the wheels of a four-wheeled vehicle.
- Anti-lock braking system
- If one motor fails, the other motors are powerful enough to drive the vehicle to the nearest repair shop.
- Low maintenance.
- Easy replacement of motors.
- No central gear box.
- No mechanical differentials.
- No long and heavy drive shafts.
The motors that are used in these vehicles are commonly Wheel hub motors, since no transmission components are then required. Alternative layouts with inboard motors and drive shafts are also possible.