Megatrends

What will Move us Tomorrow - Interview with Dr. Raphael Fischer

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"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

 
 

Can you provide a brief summary of the innovative approach taken with regard to the E-Wheel Drive?
The innovation is principally the relocation of the drive train from the center of the vehicle into the wheels.

Please describe the main features of this innovation
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.

What customer benefits does this solution provide?
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.

What are the areas in which this innovative approach can be applied?
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.

Please explain in detail how the E-Wheel Drive was implemented in technical terms.
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.

How was Schaeffler able to develop this solution?
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.”