Electric mobility: Turning a vision into reality

“Networking knowledge at [--break--]  Schaeffler not only leads to  [--break--] more creative and higher  [--break--] quality solutions. It also  [--break--] saves time and money, both  [--break--] our customers’ and ours.”

Rolf Najork, Executive Vice President [--break--]  Business Unit E-Mobility, Mechatronics  [--break--] and R&D Transmissions

Our position as a leader in many sectors of technology is [--break--]  no accident. Every year, we invest in the inventive spirit [--break--] of our employees. And that’s paying off. For example, [--break--] when we’re looking for solutions to the issue of mobility [--break--] in the 21st century.

We set up our eMobility Systems division in 2011 to be able to focus our activities around innovative electric mobility even more effectively in the future.

The way we drive is changing. An increasing number of alternatives to pure fossil fuel engines are now emerging. It is currently estimated that more than half of all automobiles will have an auxiliary electric drive in 2020. In addition to improving the drive train based on an internal combustion engine and developing hybrid solutions, which we consider part of our eMobility Systems division, our work also focuses on advanced solutions for electric vehicles.

The complex issue of electric mobility is attracting ever-growing interest. As a development partner and supplier, we have to and want to react to that trend.[--break--] Our product range already includes numerous solutions relating to electric [--break--]mobility, ranging from sensor bottom brackets for pedelecs through start-stop [--break--]solutions and hybrid clutches right up to electric drives.

We presented our Schaeffler ACTIVeDRIVE concept vehicle in 2011 – an all-electric vehicle. The active electric differential mounted on its front and rear axles, which [--break--]is currently a lightweight differential, is the most important innovation of the ACTIVeDRIVE. Constituting the core of the eDifferential, this lightweight differential is lighter and requires less space than conventional differentials.

Our eDifferential supports the steering function and has a positive effect on driving dynamics, safety and driving comfort. eDifferentials can be used to hybridize vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine, giving customers the benefits of an all-wheel drive in addition to a hybrid drive. In addition, the differential can be used in various types of vehicles – everything from sports cars and conventional automobiles to agricultural machinery.

We set up our eMobility Systems division in 2011 to be able to focus our activities around alternative drives even more effectively. In this facility, we are bringing together the expertise in electric mobility from all Schaeffler companies around the world. Several hundred engineers are collaborating here in interdisciplinary networks to develop new systems and units, and these activities are by no means limited to mobility on four wheels.

"I think working with the best specialists throughout our company to shape the mobility of the future is not only exciting – it’s also extremely effective."

Christian Weyhersmueller, Product Development Electric Axle Drives

The eMobility Systems division considers itself an open concept rather than a self-contained unit: Collaboration with partners from industry and universities is not only welcomed, but considered necessary. [--break--]It cuts development times and helps obtain feedback from future users of the innovations being developed as the research progresses. By working with universities, we hope to attract highly talented graduates to our company.

The eMobility Systems division is a pioneering strategic decision. For example, an electric axle with torque distribution between the right and left wheels will go into mass production in a few years. In addition, a hybrid module which generates considerable increases in performance by incorporating an electric module is ready for mass production now. These examples demonstrate that Schaeffler is prepared for the future, because we are using all our experience today [--break--]  to work on advanced solutions for tomorrow.

Innovative strength

[--break--] We spend around five percent of consolidated revenue on [--break--] research and development every year. Almost 6,000 [--break--] employees work in our 40 R&D centers, where they generate around 1,700 inventions annually, making Schaeffler one of the most innovative companies in Germany and in its sector.