For years, there has been a belief that no matter what miracle engineers do with new SUVs, they cannot make them as agile as conventional cars. And the issue is not inability, but simply because excess weight and a higher center of gravity cannot be compensated for.
New development from Mercedes
However, now engineers are going to refute this opinion. For example, the global brand Mercedes-Benz from this model year is introducing a new version of a system called E-Active Body Control (or E-ABC) in its SUV models.
In practice, this is an active suspension, capable of tilting the car around corners in the same way that racing bikes do. This option is available from this year on the GLE and GLS models.
How the system works
The E-ABC uses hydraulic pumps powered by a 48-volt system. She controls:
- ground clearance;
- counteracts natural inclination;
- stabilizes a vehicle with strong roll.
In sharper corners, the system tilts the vehicle inward rather than outward. British journalists who have already tested the system say they have never seen an SUV behave this way.
The E-ABC is manufactured and supplied by the Bilstein suspension specialists. The system creates a differential pressure between the chambers on both sides of the shock absorber and thus raises or tilts the vehicle when cornering.
For this, each shock absorber is equipped with an electro-hydraulic pump and valve system. In corners on the outer wheels, the E-ABC creates more pressure in the lower shock chamber and thus raises the chassis. In the shock absorbers on the inside of the corner, pressure in the upper chamber increases, pushing the chassis down the road.
System testers say the driver experience is unusual at first, but the passengers feel much more comfortable when cornering.
Active suspension performance
Similar systems have been tested earlier. The big plus for the new E-ABC is that it uses 48-volt electric motors, rather than a motor, to drive the hydraulic pumps. This improves efficiency. On uneven roads, the hydraulic system can actually recover energy, reducing overall consumption by about 50% compared to previous versions.
E-ABC has another major advantage - it can not only tilt the car to the side, but also shake it up and down. This improves traction when the car gets stuck in deep mud or sand and needs to be towed.