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Whats the line on reliability and total weight? It would seem rational that elimination of drive components would reduce total weight and improve reliability (I hate replacing CVs) but I really have no feel for that -- SkepikI

In this case, it wouldn't take heavy duty analysis. The impact to ride and handling would be very costly (and heavy) to offset motors at the wheel hub.

But, in many cases, it's a very detailed analysis to balance reliability, total weight.... and all the other considerations such as cost, crash performance, thermal performance, aerodynamics, ride/handling, noise/vibration, available package space, assembly constraints, serviceability, effects on occupant accommodation and visibility (for some situations).... and I've probably forgotten some of them right now.

Now, for example, body structures are very carefully developed with computer analysis and simulation to get the desired response.... and none of it is noticeable to the customer. Metal thicknesses are carefully developed and pieces of different thicknesses are laser welded together before the parts are formed... resulting in metal structures with varying thickness. Some parts require processing under high temperatures because they are too strong to form under normal conditions.

Overall, automotive engineering is extremely high tech these days.... and reliability has never been higher. Yeah, people still have problems, but the problem rates are way down.... and that's despite far more complexity in the product. Some of that complexity is due to the gizmos people like, some of it is effectively mandated by government standards... the most obvious manifestation of that is with powertrain controls for fuel economy and pollution control.

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