Schaeffler, one of the leading global suppliers to the automotive and industrial sectors, is emphasizing its focus on electric mobility by simultaneously launching several new electric axle drive units. The design, which combines the electric motor, transmission, power electronics and thermal management in a single system, is expected to increase efficiency. Developing electric axle beams for pickup trucks, Schaeffler plans to supply axle beams to automakers in the future, especially in the North American market. Matthew Zink, CEO of the company's Automotive Technologies, stated that electric axles play an important role in Schaeffler's electric mobility strategy.
Today, a compact unit contains up to three drive components. Developing a system called 'four-in-one axle' with its superior technology, Schaeffler; In addition to the electric motor, power electronics and transmission, the company takes a major leap forward by incorporating the thermal management system into the axle drive unit. It increases driving comfort by making the four-in-one electric axle and axle drive unit more compact and lightweight. Thanks to an efficient thermal management system, the vehicle can travel longer distances on a single charge and charge much faster. In addition to all these, Schaeffler, which develops electric axle beams for pickup trucks, is preparing to supply axle beams to automobile manufacturers especially in the North American market in the future. "Electric axles play an important role in Schaeffler's electric mobility strategy," said Matthew Zink, CEO of Automotive Technologies. said.
The thermal management system contributes greatly to the efficiency and comfort of the vehicle.
Heat is a limited and valuable resource in electric vehicles. These vehicles cannot use the residual heat from internal combustion engines to heat the interior. In addition, especially in hot or cold weather, the vehicle's range and fast charging may vary depending on factors such as keeping the battery in the appropriate temperature range. Stating that the thermal management system has a great impact on the efficiency and comfort of the vehicle, Schaeffler E-Mobility Division Manager Dr. Jochen Schröder: “At Schaeffler, we develop thermal management systems suitable for various vehicle powertrains. A new approach is to combine the drive units of conventional electric axles with the thermal management system, which until now was mostly a stand-alone unit. Thus, a compact system with high integration is created, which takes up much less space compared to non-integrated solutions. In addition, thermal energy loss is reduced by eliminating unnecessary hoses and cables. Aside from its compact design, the biggest advantage of the four-in-one system is that the subunits are tuned to deliver peak performance with each other. Behind this, Schaeffler specialists take into account the thermal behavior of individual power transmission components such as the electric motor or power electronics, and consider the thermal management in the vehicle as a whole in the most efficient and comprehensive way. For example, the intelligent control system ensures that residual heat is efficiently dissipated from the power electronics and electric motor and used to warm the interior of the vehicle. By regulating the temperature of the battery, the vehicle can travel longer distances on a single charge and charges faster.” he said.
It is possible to achieve efficiency of up to 96 percent
Schaeffler also increases efficiency with a heat pump powered by carbon dioxide, a natural coolant. Emphasizing that carbon dioxide has less impact on the environment compared to conventional coolers, Jochen Schröder concluded his words as follows: “Thanks to our four-in-one electric axles with integrated thermal management system, we provide higher efficiency throughout the system. It is possible to achieve efficiency of up to 96 percent in an optimally designed system. An increase in this rate directly means an increase in vehicle range.”
The most comprehensive drive system for electric vehicles
With the four-in-one electric axle, Schaeffler is developing the most comprehensive drive system for electric vehicles. With this integrated system, it offers attractive solutions for both well-established automotive manufacturers and companies that have just entered the market. This reduces the cost of redevelopment of the entire drive system. On the other hand, the company will continue to offer sub-systems such as electric motor, transmission, bearing and thermal management system and components of these systems for electric and hybrid vehicles. Similarly, the supply of combined systems with two or three components will continue. In the future, electric axles will be used with all-electric or fuel cell-based propulsion systems in a wide range from passenger cars to light commercial vehicles. Thus, Schaeffler actually opens the door to a large market. This market also includes special electric axles and components required for the electrification of commercial vehicles and heavy vehicles.
Preparing to produce electric axle beam
Schaeffler's near-term plans also include producing electric axle beams for the electrification of medium-duty pickup trucks, especially in the North American market. In the electric axle beam to be produced by the company; The electric motor, transmission, power electronics and rear axle will all be presented to the customer as a single, ready-to-install unit connected to each other. Schaeffler has already started receiving its first orders for electric axle beams from automotive manufacturers. The company therefore entered a new market segment in electric axle beams.
Working non-stop with the global production network
Schaeffler also manufactures electrical axle components at various plants around the world. Production started at the company's factory in Hungary in September 2021. As the first facility of the Schaeffler Group focused on e-mobility, this factory is a new competence center for the production of electrical transmission systems and components. In addition, components for e-mobility and integrated electric axle drive units are also produced in China. A new production center is being established in the USA, where hybrid modules are produced. In addition, a factory that will become the world leader in electric motors is being built in Bühl, where the headquarters of the Schaeffler Automotive Technologies division is located.
It also uses its superior quality in production to provide electric drive solutions.
Schaeffler advances in the production of electric axles by highlighting its strengths. The company is highly experienced in manufacturing different components in electric motors using high precision manufacturing techniques such as 'stamping of stator laminations' and 'rotor winding with innovative wave winding technology'. With these techniques, it is possible to increase the performance of the entire system. The company also makes extensive use of its superior quality in manufacturing to bring electric drive solutions to market quickly and in high volume.