Ferrari’s sophisticated suspension gives it a significant advantage in the battle between weight and vehicle control. Ride quality and handling are among the most important aspects of a vehicle’s character.
A substantial portion of how it feels, provides comfort, thrills, and conveys the driver’s intentions is determined by these two factors. And while drivetrains are undergoing significant change, the fundamentals of what governs suspension have stayed relatively unchanged, with springs of some type keeping the vehicle off the ground and absorbing bumps and dampers dampening their excitement. Nonetheless, there have been numerous variants on the idea, with the Ferrari Purosangue SUV introducing Multimatic’s True Active Spool Valve (TASV) system.
There are two general forms of suspension: passive and adaptive. Passive springs are those coils of spring steel, twisting torsion bars, or, formerly, flat steel leaves. To resist motion, passive dampers typically consist of a piston in a tube that displaces gas, oil, or both. Passive dampers can be elegant in design and effect, but they are not intelligent. Adaptive dampers change resistance and reaction on the fly via electronic control.
Some achieve this with electronically controlled internal valves, while the unique Magneride system (a development of Delphi) does it using fluid that thickens in reaction to electromagnetics incorporated into the units and connected to the chassis’ “brain.” Adaptive or active suspension consists of air springs similar to those utilized by premium companies such as Audi, BMW, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz.
All of these systems employ either standard steel springs or pneumatic air springs. None is actually active in the sense that springs have been replaced by hydraulic actuators reminiscent of 1980s Formula 1 technology. Back then, engineers struggled to have the computational capacity to process the massive amounts of data involved, but a great deal has changed since then. Despite having access to sophisticated, ultra-fast electronics, the TASV system still utilizes springs. However, according to Multimatic, it “redefines the role of dampers, changing the suspension into an active system capable of exerting sufficient force to move the entire vehicle body.” It does this when it detects that the driver is ready to make a steering input or slam on the brakes, or when it anticipates a road humps.
The TASV system’s spool valves execute the magic, altering compression and rebound on the fly and very quickly. Hydraulic spool-valve dampers can also function with springs to reduce body roll, eliminating the need for actual anti-roll bars. Multimatic asserts that the system controls wheel motions with greater frequency and authority than existing adaptive or semi-active systems.
The dampers are equipped with control modules that are linked to the vehicle’s vehicle dynamics controller, allowing the system to adjust fore and aft pitch during acceleration and braking (thus maintaining a level ride) and impact understeer and oversteer as they occur.
The new hydrogen-powered Cummins truck engine
Heavy vehicles, such as buses and trucks, are expected to be the first to adopt hydrogen as a road fuel. At the recent IAA Transportation Show, Cummins displayed its new X15H engine. It is designed for trucks weighing up to 44 tons and produces 530 horsepower and 1,917 pound-feet of torque, refuting the misconception that hydrogen implies poor power. Cummins is also investing in the installation of 600 electrolyzers in 100 countries for the production of green hydrogen.