Schaeffler offers a wide range of key technologies for reducing automobiles’ fuel consumption and emissions, as well as for improving their energy efficiency. Many of these individual solutions only unveil their full potential when combined as part of a system, which Schaeffler is again highlighting with its current demonstration vehicle: Efficient Future Mobility North America.
This technology platform is based on the current version of a mid-size SUV that is popular in North America and features an automatic transmission with a torque converter.
“The solutions on display take the market-specific demands and customer requirements in North America into account,” explains Prof. Peter Gutzmer, CTO of Schaeffler AG.
The use and optimization of a range of Schaeffler technologies as well as painstakingly detailed work has allowed the vehicle’s fuel consumption to be reduced by 15 percent, which means a corresponding drop in CO(2) emissions. These values were initially simulated using Schaeffler calculation programs and verified by Schaeffler’s experts in North America using extensive measurements and test cycles, and then certified by an independent testing institute. What is remarkable here is that the Schaeffler technologies that are employed in this demonstration vehicle allow automobiles in the same category to achieve the limit values specified by the CAFE standard for 2020 with no additional electrification of the powertrain. (CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy and defines the legal regulations for “fleet consumption” with regard to the targets set for 2020 and 2025, which even in North America are becoming increasingly restrictive.)
The concept vehicle employs Schaeffler systems such as a thermal management module and all-wheel drive (AWD) disconnect clutch. Other solutions that are on board include Schaeffler innovations for engine start-stop systems such as the “permanently engaged starter generator” with a wrap-spring one-way clutch and a latching valve that allows the vehicle to be driven for longer with the engine switched off without the need for energy-consuming pumps. Decisive contributions towards the impressive results were also made by the detailed friction optimization work carried out on the belt drive, the valve train and the balancer shafts, as well as the optimization of the torque converter.
Products like the new AWD disconnect clutch, which decouples the unused drive axle from the powertrain depending on the driving situation and thus makes a savings contribution of up to six percent (on the highway, for example) demonstrate the significant potential for reducing CO(2) emissions that is still offered by the powertrain. However, it is in city traffic that the “permanently engaged starter generator” with a wrap-spring one-way clutch really demonstrates its capabilities. In addition to a considerable increase in comfort in so-called “change of mind” situations (in which the engine is already switched off but the driver then quickly decides to drive on), this engine start-stop component allows fuel consumption to be reduced by up to six percent in city traffic. Fuel consumption can be lowered by an additional one percent through the integration of a thermal management module, which allows the optimum engine operating temperature to be reached in the shortest time possible and the temperature balance, which also includes other assemblies like the transmission and hybrid elements, to be precisely controlled.
The Schaeffler demonstration vehicle, which was constructed in North America, shows how future CAFE requirements can be met using cost-effective technology that is ready for volume-production.
“The optimization of powertrains based on internal combustion engines allows even vehicles of this size to achieve the values specified by the CAFE standard for the year 2020,” explains Jeff Hemphill, vice president and chief technical officer of Schaeffler North America. “But that’s not all: Our ideas for the electrification of the powertrain also put Schaeffler in a position to give the automotive industry the solutions it needs to fulfill the requirements set out for 2025.”
Schaeffler with its product brands INA, LuK and FAG is a leading provider of rolling bearing and plain bearing solutions and of linear and direct drive technology, as well as a renowned supplier to the automotive industry of high-precision products and systems for engines, transmissions, and chassis applications. The globally active group of companies generated sales of approximately 11.1 billion euros in 2012. With about 78,000 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of the largest German and European industrial companies in family ownership. With 180 locations in over 50 countries, Schaeffler has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, sales companies, engineering offices, and training centers.
To serve the North American automotive market, Schaeffler operates development centers in: Troy, Mich.; Fort Mill, S.C.; Wooster, Ohio; and Puebla, Mexico. The company’s 400 North American engineers and technicians, who are supported by a team of more than 5,500 global engineers, drive development in the region utilizing state-of-the-art test and measurement equipment, computational tools and CAD systems. Schaeffler Automotive has headquarters in Fort Mill and manufacturing facilities in: South Carolina; Missouri; Ohio; Ontario, Canada; Puebla and Irapuato, Mexico. For more information, please visit www.schaeffler.us