Continental to showcase New Wheel Concept for EVs at 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Article by Christian A., on August 22, 2017

Automotive parts supplier Continental has redesigned its wheel and braking system to meet today’s demands in electro mobility. Unlike the traditional wheel and braking solutions, the New Wheel Concept specially made for medium and compact electric vehicles meet all the requirements electric driving puts on the brake.

Continental’s innovative concept is based primarily on two new sections between the wheel and the axle. The carrier, or the inner part of the aluminum brake disc, remains affixed to the wheel hub while the wheel brake is attached to the star carrier of the axle. The reduced weight also means changing brake pads and tires will come easier as these are the only parts requiring periodic replacements.

It is important for electric vehicles that the driver uses small amounts of energy on friction brake, according to Paul Linhoff, Continental’s chassis and safety business unit head. The vehicle’s momentum is converted into electricity during deceleration, thereby increasing the vehicle’s range. He added that while the driver uses the brake pedal, it doesn’t conclude that the wheel brakes are also in use.

Aside from providing an increased range, more efficient acceleration and improved braking performance, the new wheel and brake concept was also developed to eliminate corrosion brought by conventional brake rotors. There is also lesser maintenance since the aluminum disk is rust-proof, less prone to wearing, and is designed to practically last the vehicle’s lifespan.

Continental will be showcasing their New Wheel Concept along with its inductive wireless charging system at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show this September. Its wireless charging solution, which will work with both bikes and EVs, will enable drivers to park over a charging pad to recharge. Drivers will find it more convenient than using traditional charging cables as it lets them stay inside the car while charging up. The charging pad will either be placed on the ground or a bit lower to easily integrate the system into small parking spaces. With a charging rate of 11kW per minute, the ground pad will come with a receiver pad that will be fixed on the underside of the car.

Cast iron brake discs are prone to rust and could weaken the vehicle’s braking performance, therefore the use of aluminum brake disk on EVs is more effective. It also serves as a good heat conductor, allowing the heat generated from braking to dispel quickly. Since the brake disk is attached permanently from outside and engages from the inside, the brake caliper can be specially developed to be as light and stiff as possible, hence, affecting the noise behavior positively due to the force being transmitted into the axle.

Press Release

For the first time, Continental introduces an innovative wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles

The technology company Continental has again expanded its solution portfolio for electric vehicles, developing the New Wheel Concept to meet the specific requirements of these vehicles. The wheel rim consists of two aluminum (Al) parts, the inner Al carrier star with the Al brake disk and the outer Al rim well with the tire. In contrast to conventional wheel brakes, the New Wheel Concept brake engages the Al disk from the inside. This allows it to have a particularly large diameter, which benefits the braking performance.

To increase the vehicle’s range, deceleration in the EV generates as much electricity as possible through recuperation (= braking using the electric motor), so the wheel brake is used less frequently. The corrosion-free Al brake disk also prevents the formation of rust (as is normal on cast-iron disks) which can impair the braking effect.

“Electromobility needs new solutions for braking technology too,” says Matthias Matic, Head of Continental’s Hydraulic Brake Systems Business Unit. “Using conventional brakes is not very effective in this case. The New Wheel Concept meets all the demands that electric driving places on the brake. We used our braking know-how to develop a solution that provides a consistently reliable braking effect in the electric vehicle.”

Thanks to the lightweight material, the New Wheel Concept reduces the weight of the wheel and brake, enabling lightweight construction in EVs. Advantages of the concept are much easier wheel and brake pad changes and that the disk is not subject to wear.

Rethinking the wheel
The New Wheel Concept is based on a new division between the wheel and the axle. Here the wheel consists of two parts, the aluminum carrier star, which remains permanently bolted to the wheel hub, and the rim well, which is bolted to the star. The wheel brake is fastened to the wheel carrier of the axle and engages from the inside with an annular aluminum brake disk, which in turn is bolted to the carrier star. The internal brake permits a wide brake disk friction radius, since the space available in the wheel is optimally utilized. During its development, the New Wheel Concept’s braking performance was initially designed for medium and compact class vehicles. In accordance with today’s requirements for this application, the brake is sturdy and fulfills all the established criteria – although it is used much less frequently in an EV.

“In EVs, it’s crucial that the driver expends as little energy as possible on the friction brake,” says Paul Linhoff, Head of Brake Pre-Development in the Chassis & Safety Business Unit at Continental. “During a deceleration, the momentum of the vehicle is converted into electricity in the generator to increase the vehicle’s range. That’s why the driver continues to operate the brake pedal – but it certainly doesn’t mean that the wheel brakes are active too.” The deceleration torque of the electric motor is only no longer sufficient by itself when the driver brakes more energetically, or braking also has to carried out with the non-driven axle for driving dynamics reasons. The wheel brake is needed in this situation – and it must be available. “Drivers want to be able to rely on a consistent braking effect – and too much rust on the brake disk in particular can really make this difficult,” Linhoff emphasizes. The reason behind the reduced performance is less friction between the brake pad and the brake disk. The automatic emergency braking function also has to fully rely on the availability of the friction brake effect.

In perfect harmony – material and design
The design of the New Wheel Concept uses the strengths of lightweight aluminum material for the brake. Thanks to the long leverage effect on the large brake disk, relatively low clamping forces are enough to provide a high level of braking efficiency – and since aluminum is a very good heat conductor, the heat generated in the disk during braking is quickly dissipated.

Source: Continental

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