Livonia-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE: TRW) said Wednesday that it has launched production of its belt drive electrically powered steering technology for the European market on Ford Motor Co.’s Focus platform, including passenger cars and derivatives such as the Ford C-Max.

The technology, launched in 2009 on the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ in North America, not only has the potential to increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, but it also enables further integration with other electronically controlled driver assist systems, including lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, which help to enhance safety and comfort.

“We have worked together with Ford to further develop a bespoke EPS solution which has received very positive feedback in the North American market and we are proud to now bring this technology to Ford’s customers in Europe,” said Frank Lubischer, vice president of engineering for TRW steering and suspension.

As with all TRW electromechanical steering systems, the belt drive system only consumes noticeable power when steering assist is needed, providing considerable fuel consumption benefits of 0.3 to 0.4 liters per 100 kilometers (0.7 to 0.9 mpg), with a corresponding reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of approximately seven to eight grams per kilometer when compared with hydraulic power steering.

TRW’s EPS belt drive steering technology, also referred to as ‘rack drive’, brings the fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide reduction benefits of an electric steering system to higher rack load vehicles when compared with TRW’s current column drive EPS system, which has already been launched on more than 30 vehicle models. 

The system delivers a speed sensitive, positive and responsive steering feel as well as advanced functions such as pull drift compensation. 

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