The race for more electric vehicle range: As the electric car market expands, manufacturers and consumers alike face the inevitable question: How can we get more range from our vehicles? A recent study from the Shell EV-Driver-Report 2023 reveals that for every second electric vehicle (EV) or hybrid driver in Europe, the range remains a top-three concern.
Schaeffler, a leader in automotive technologies, is pioneering innovative solutions to this issue. The company is ambitiously stepping up to improve the efficiency and range of electric vehicles, ensuring they are not just environmentally friendly but also practical for daily use.
Schaeffler Automotive Technologies CEO, Matthias Zink explains: “Schaeffler is developing solutions to combat range anxiety. Our smart technical solutions and wide range of components and systems for fully electrified powertrains improve the day-to-day practicality of electric vehicles by reducing power consumption and increasing range.”
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Efficient Bearings: Turning Friction into Extra Miles
High-Efficiency Transmission Bearings. Bearings are crucial components in any vehicle, electric or not. But in the world of EVs, the bearings can be the key to unlocking greater distances. At the heart of Schaeffler’s innovation is a mission to reduce energy lost to frictional losses, which translates into lost range.
Their high-efficiency transmission bearings stand out, offering a remarkable energy-saving potential of 50 watts compared to traditional counterparts.
Imagine driving in a chilly winter and needing to heat your steering wheel or exterior mirrors without affecting your car’s range. These new bearings make this possible. Moreover, they’re tailored to withstand the demands of electric-drive transmission input shafts, ensuring optimal load handling.
TriFinity Wheel Bearings. Going a step further, Schaeffler’s TriFinity wheel bearings promise to revolutionize wheel efficiency. Cutting frictional losses by a staggering 67% as compared to conventional bearings, they can save over 200 watts. To put that into perspective, this is equivalent to an extra 20 kilometers on a full charge for an SUV with a 120-kWh battery.
These bearings don’t just offer better efficiency; they’re lighter, have a longer lifespan, and can withstand greater axle loads, making them especially useful for heftier electric vehicles.
Thermal Management: The New Frontier in Range Extension
Harnessing Heat with Schaeffler. One of the areas ripe for innovation in electric vehicles is thermal management. Schaeffler isn’t new to this game, having explored thermal management solutions for approximately 15 years. Dr. Jochen Schröder, at the helm of Schaeffler’s E-Mobility division, believes thermal management is increasingly becoming a decisive factor for EV manufacturers.
Schröder’s team has developed a variety of thermal management solutions, with the 4in1 e-axle standing out as a crown jewel. This integrated system combines motor, transmission, power electronics, and thermal management into one efficient unit.
This not only leads to weight reduction and easier installation but also contributes to increased range and faster charging by ensuring the entire powertrain remains at the optimal temperature.
Innovative Heat Pumps. Adding to its repertoire, Schaeffler is unveiling a groundbreaking heat pump designed for both the 4in1 e-axle and standalone applications. By harnessing waste heat and ambient thermal energy, it conserves precious battery power, particularly during cold winter months. With this innovation, vehicles can achieve an astonishing 17% increase in range.
Schaeffler: Pioneering a Greener Tomorrow
Beyond the technical prowess, Schaeffler’s commitment to the environment is evident in choices like their heat pump system’s refrigerant. Opting for the naturally occurring carbon dioxide (R744) over conventional options, they’re championing a solution that’s environmentally friendly, underscoring their commitment to a sustainable automotive future.
Electric Vehicle Range: The Road Ahead
As the electric vehicle market continues its global surge, companies like Schaeffler play a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s future. Their innovations promise not only an extended range but also a future where driving electric is synonymous with efficiency, practicality, and sustainability. In the race for more range, Schaeffler is undoubtedly setting a pace others will aim to match.