18 May 2010

Electric Drive Concepts for the Cars of the Future

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In order to make electric cars a part of everyday life, new vehicle designs and parts are needed.

Take wheel hub motors, for instance. One of the advantages of wheel hub motors is that manufacturers can dispense with the conventional engine bay -- the space under the "hood" or "bonnet" -- since the motors are attached directly to the wheels of the vehicle. This opens up a wealth of opportunities for car designers when drafting the layout of the vehicle.

Additional advantages: By dispensing with the transmission and differential, the mechanical transmission elements suffer no losses or wear and tear. Moreover, the direct drive on each individual wheel may improve the drive dynamic and drive safety.

Researchers are developing not only individual components, but the total system as well. They assemble the components on their concept car, known as the "Frecc0" or the "Fraunhofer E-Concept Car Type 0" -- a scientific test platform. Starting next year, automobile manufacturers and suppliers will also be able to use the "Frecc0" for testing new components. The basis of this demo model is an existing car: The new Artega GT manufactured by Artega Automobil GmbH. The establishment of this platform and the engineering of the wheel hub motor are just two projects among the panoply run by "Fraunhofer System Research for Electromobility." The research cooperative is focusing on subjects that include vehicle design, energy production, distribution and implementation, energy storage techniques, technical system integration and sociopolitical matters. The federal ministry for education and research BMBF is funding this Fraunhofer initiative with 44 million euro. The goal is to develop prototypes for hybrid and electric vehicles, in order to support the German automotive industry as it makes the crossover to electromobility.

(Science Daily)

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