TRW Automotive has won two new contracts worth a combined $330 million for electrically assisted steering systems, bringing the company’s global EAS contract gains for the next five years to a total of $4.5 billion.
One of the most recent contract nominations is an order valued at approximately $150 million. The order has come from what TRW describes as ‘a leading European vehicle manufacturer’ and requires TRW to supply column drive electrically powered steering (EPS), which is already fitted on three new European models including the Fiat Stilo.
The other contract is for electrically powered hydraulic steering (EPHS) systems for a global vehicle manufacturer. The contract is said to be valued at more than $180 million annually in North America and Europe starting production in 2004. TRW’s previous EPHS contract wins include the Volkswagen Passat and Polo and Opel Vectra, Zafir and Astra models.
According to TRW, demand is expected to continue to boom for electric steering technology, eventually increasing to an estimated one out of every two cars built by the year 2010.
TRW electrically assisted steering systems such as EPHS or EPS rack, column, pinion and belt-drive configurations, reportedly eliminate the need for the engine to provide mechanical power for the steering system, yielding significant cost and performance benefits.
EPHS eliminates belts, pulleys and all direct connection with the engine, combining an advanced brushless motor, hydraulic power steering pump, electronic unit and reservoir into an easy to install unit. In addition, all electric steering systems offer enhanced fuel efficiency because they consume power only when steering assist is required.
Column-drive EPS is a cost-effective design for many vehicle platforms because it locates the EPS motor in the passenger compartment. This arrangement enables lower requirements concerning temperature and sealing in comparison to systems that mount the motor in the engine compartment.