De Dion tube
A de Dion axle is a driven axle, wherein the differential is mounted separately from the axis and connected to the wheels through drive shafts. It was invented by Charles -Armand Trépardoux, a participating employee in the company by De Dion, Bouton & Trépardoux ( after leaving De Dion -Bouton ). The owner, Count Albert de Dion, had this design patented in 1893.
To reduce the large unsprung driven rigid axles, the axle drive ( differential ) of the axle is mounted on the isolated structure. The wheels are connected by a rigid tube or profile, track and camber change so not during compression. The drive torque is transmitted via the double cardan shafts ( drive shafts ). For length compensation have either the axle tube or the drive shafts sliding joints. The axle tube can be performed with a Watts linkage or Panhard rod on side and push rods or longitudinal leaf springs. Thus, the De Dion axle has the low unsprung mass of the non-driven axle, since their heavy differential is sprung, but takes advantage of the axle, the wheel geometry constant. De -Dion axles are expensive to manufacture and therefore expensive; they were previously and are occasionally still used in racing, sports and luxury vehicles, such as Lotus, Aston Martin ( DBS ), Lagonda Rapide, Caterham Cars, Alfa Romeo Alfetta / GTV or Maserati. Also in 1963 presented Rover P6 and in 1969 built large Opel KAD B models Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat were equipped with it.
The manufacturer DAF used them in the 1970s in the small car DAF 66, 46 and 77 (Volvo 343). As the Alfetta have these vehicles the gear on the rear axle ( transaxle design ). In recent years, there is De Dion axles with some all-wheel -drive vehicles such as the soft roaders Honda CR -V or the terrain Bucher / Mowag Duro trucks and the rear engine vehicle Smart. Furthermore, this axis is installed in the electric vehicles Citroën C -ZERO, the Peugeot iOn and the Mitsubishi i- MiEV.