The last time we saw a commercial for taming vehicular motion this interesting, it involved a three-pointed star, six gloved hands, and three chickens. Ten years ago, Mercedes compared the prowess of its Magic Body Control to natural feats achieved by our feathered domestic dinosaurs. Chinese automaker BYD made a point about similar capabilities during a technology event at its Shenzhen HQ using a hopping sports car. Yes, hopping. The electromechanicals are called the DiSus Intelligent Body Control system that BYD plans to apply only to its alternative energy vehicles. The system can counteract motion in all three planes, and can work in four ways.
DiSus-C represents Intelligent Damping Body Control, an active suspension setup modulated by the damper solenoid valve. DiSus-A is Intelligent Air Body Control, an air suspension that can move through 150 millimeters (5.9 inches), programmed with 12 or more height settings and able to vary height based on driving conditions. DiSus-P Intelligent Hydraulic Body Control manages oil flow in the damper through a 200-mm range of motion (7.9 inches) and a 200% increase in stiffness compared to its softest setting. It can lift a wheel off the ground, recalling the hydraulic suspension in ye olde Citroen DS from the 1950s that could drive on three wheels. BYD calls this “the most advanced of the three groups” and says it’s “the world’s first intelligent hydraulic body control system.”
Then there’s DiSus-X, showcased on the Yangwang E9 at the tech event. Yangwang is a new luxury brand previewed last year, shown off in public for the first time earlier this year. The U9 would be the flagship sitting on the brand’s new E4 platform, a quad-motor EV with enough gumption to get from 0 to 62 miles per hour in two seconds. We’re not privy to the details on DiSus-X yet, so we don’t understand how this isn’t the most advanced suspension in the range since BYD says it integrates suspension-altering aspects of the previous three and employs “binocular cameras or lidar to capture road undulations on the road.” Hang on until the 1:18 mark in the video and you’ll see what that down-the-road vision is for when the car bunny hops, a flashier use of potential than the stated aim of reducing “the risk of vehicle rollover and reduce the displacement of occupants during high-speed cornering, full-throttle acceleration, or emergency braking.” Some might remember when audio company Bose showed off the same tomfoolery on its prototype electromagnetic suspension more than 15 years ago.
These technologies are headed to a range of new BYD models soon, and for certain owners of models like the BYD Tang that are equipped with the necessary hardware, the automaker plans to add DiSus-P capability with an over-the-air update.