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As a leader in technology and innovation, Schaeffler has always taken on the significant technological, societal and economic trends – and applies its own research to participate in actively shaping them. The best example: mobility as a megatrend.
With our innovative products and solutions, we are already paving the way to the mobility of the future, which will be driven equally by both electric mobility and optimised internal combustion engines. We are actively involved in both fields. We are creating a firm foundation for electric mobility through our eMobility Systems Division. And in the case of internal combustion engines, we are working to turn the potential for optimisation by up to 30 percent into reality.
Schaeffler is now a supplier to almost all automotive vehicle manufacturers. The subject of mobility, however, is one that we see as far from being restricted to the Automotive Division: For motorcycles, Schaeffler is a leading supplier and development partner for bearings and precision components in engines, transmissions and chassis. The pedal cycle market is one to which Schaeffler has for many years supplied a wide range of products for conventional pedal cycles and e-bikes. Furthermore, we have for over 100 years been developing innovative solutions for bearing applications in rail vehicles, such as wheelset bearings as well as bearings and components for traction motors and transmissions, for wagon pivots and tilting systems as well as for doors and numerous other applications. In the aerospace sector, we have made our name with high precision bearing arrangements for aircraft engines, for helicopters, for the US Space Shuttle and the European launch vehicle Ariane.
With the theme of efficient future mobility, we are continuing systematically along the path that our Company has traditionally taken – and are supplying intelligent answers to the major challenges in mobility both now and in the future
"The innovation is principally the relocation of the drive train from the center of the vehicle into the wheels."
Dr. Raphael Fischer, Director Product Group E-Wheel Drives and Mechatronics
The innovation is principally the relocation of the drive train from the center of the vehicle into the wheels.
We find the drive motors in the wheels. We find the brakes, the wheel bearing and also the inverter including the software, which is required to control and provide the functions.
We gain space in vehicles by relocating the drive into the wheels. This means, for example, that more luggage can be transported or four persons can be accommodated in the space previously occupied by two. We can also make the vehicle more maneuverable by redesigning the chassis.
The applications are primarily in the automotive sector, but this technology can also be applied to electric scooters or industrial conveying trucks by scaling the E-Wheel Drive accordingly.
Here you can see the conventional tire, which is fitted on the wheel rim, as well as the stator of the electric motor and the rotor. Between these two components, you can see the magnetic gap, in which the relative movement takes place. The bearing must be of a very rigid design in order to maintain this magnetic gap. We can also see the power electronics, which control the motor via short cables. The E-Wheel Drive is cooled by a liquid, which flows around the power electronics and the electric motor.
We have been able to design the E-Wheel Drive as a responsive and highly efficient drive concept due to the direct connection between the rotor and the wheel, as well as the short cableways.
Schaeffler was essentially able to develop this solution for two reasons. Firstly because we have got most of the expertise in the company. Secondly, Schaeffler has a special culture of innovation. We give developers the freedom to develop new innovations and demonstrate their suitability.”
Schaeffler is bundling its numerous activities relating to electric mobility in an eMobility Systems Division – and is thereby pursuing a holistic approach that integrates the expertise of both the Automotive and Industrial Divisions. In this interdisciplinary centre of competence, Schaeffler is driving forward work in this increasingly important subject at a systems level.
The product range already includes a large number of highly varied solutions relating to electric mobility. The range extends from sensor bottom brackets for so-called pedelecs, start-stop solutions and hybrid clutches right up to electric drives. Schaeffler has made a name for itself with the hybrid solutions presented in the vehicle full of ideas, the "Schaeffler Hybrid", and the wheel hub drive eWheel Drive. A further example is the innovative concept vehicle ACTIVEeDRIVE: This makes it possibly to experience how pure electric driving feels in reality. At its heart is the E-Differential, making Schaeffler a pioneer in innovative vehicle dynamics control. This opens up undreamt-of areas of application – from highly dynamic sports vehicles through classic cars to agricultural machinery.
As a leading technology partner, we are playing an active role in shaping electric mobility, whose future prospects and future capabilities will be decisively influenced by the contribution made by our innovations. With the eMobility Systems Division, we are also creating structures at an international level that will enable us to cover this important field in its entirety – and to bundle our numerous developments and products in this field in a systematic form.
The eMobility Systems Division is further evidence that we are systematically driving forward the development of electric mobility and participating in actively shaping a future based on renewable energy.