'11 Fords Debut With Locally Built Steering Rack 12-09-2010 - WNEM TV 5

'11 Fords Debut With Locally Built Steering Rack 12-09-2010

Nexteer Automotive, the Buena Vista Township-based automotive supplier, is providing Ford with the world’s first rack-assisted electric power steering for its pickup truck market.
Nexteer says the new rack will be available on the 2011 Ford F-150, which the company said marks the first production pickup truck to feature a 12-volt version of this environmentally friendly EPS technology.
“This is a key step in widespread advancement and adoption of EPS technology,” said Ted Seeger, global chief engineer of electric steering for Nexteer. “Prior to this application, EPS had been widely considered a technology for smaller vehicles, but the rack-assisted system in the Ford F-150 has the largest rack-load of any EPS system today and is ideal for heavier vehicles, improving performance and fuel economy.”
Nexteer said its EPS systems achieve up to 4 percent fuel savings compared to traditional hydraulic steering by eliminating the hydraulic pump, hoses and fluids and replacing them with a high-efficiency motor. The motor only draws power from the battery when the driver needs power-steering assistance, compared with hydraulic steering that draws power continuously from the engine. As a result of fuel savings, vehicle emissions are also reduced.
Along with improved fuel economy, the automotive supplier said another key benefit of EPS is that the steering gear can be more precisely tuned. The tuning is software-based, so the steering can be programmed and essentially customized to each model based on wheelbase, powertrain and other factors.
“EPS is rapidly becoming the steering system of choice for global automakers for its widespread capabilities,” said Mike Richardson, vice president of the steering business unit for Nexteer. “In the F-150, it provides a level of technology previously unseen with previous hydraulic systems in the pickup truck market, including speed-variable assist, pull compensation and safety systems integration.”
Nexteer said since 1999, it has put more than 14 million EPS units on the road globally, saving more than 800 million gallons of fuel.
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