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Schaeffler is electrifying sport utility vehicles (SUVs), crossovers and pick-ups (light duty vehicles), which are extremely popular in the U.S.
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Vice President Communications and Marketing Automotive
Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG
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Vice President Communications and Marketing, Americas
Schaeffler Group USA
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2017-01-09 | Detroit
Schaeffler is electrifying sport utility vehicles (SUVs), crossovers and pick-ups (light duty vehicles), which are extremely popular in the U.S. automobile market, with innovative hybrid solutions. The combination of internal combustion engines and electric motors increases efficiency and allows vehicle manufacturers to achieve future fuel economy targets. Hybrid drives also provide greater torque at low speeds - an important criterion for US customers when choosing a vehicle. By combining hydrodynamic torque converters and electric motors, Schaeffler is offering a key technology which should help hybrid drives to continue their growth in the North American market. In addition to this, Schaeffler is working on electric axles that could one day compliment or replace conventional powertrains, serve as a hybrid solution and provide an all-wheel drive alternative.
SUVs and light duty vehicles represent approximately 60 percent of the total vehicle market in North America. The amount of available torque is an important consideration for purchasers of these types of vehicles.
"For purchasers of SUVs and pick-ups, a vehicle's towing capability is just as significant as its highway performance," explains Marc McGrath, Schaeffler's President Automotive Americas.
Greater launch torque can be achieved by operating a hybrid drive and an internal combustion engine simultaneously. Furthermore, with more stringent fuel consumption legislation coming into force in the United States in the next few years, hybridizing the powertrain meets both customer's expectations and upcoming legal conditions.
Schaeffler is therefore placing a strong emphasis on hybrid and electric drive technologies, ranging from P0 belt starter alternator products, at the 2017 North American International Auto Show. Some of these technologies include so-called P2 arrangements that place the electric motor between the internal combustion engine and the transmission, and electric axle architectures. Schaeffler is developing a solution where the electric motor is connected on the transmission side through a particularly compact torque converter which has been developed by Schaeffler. This solution has several advantages as in standard automatic transmissions, a torque converter ramps up smoothly significant torque from the drive yielding a very comfortable experience. The hybrid drive/torque converter combination is also extremely efficient, as the torque converter lock-up clutch closes immediately after launch creating a solid mechanical connection between the transmission, internal combustion engine and electric motor.
The hybrid powertrain has a very compact design due to the integrated torque converter (iTC) which requires less than 100 millimeters additional space on average. Because Schaeffler designs the torque convertor and the connections to the engine and electric motor, it can integrate these components more elegantly than competitors who would be purchasing them and developing an add-on solution. Schaeffler's engineers in North America and Germany are already working on the first volume production solution for a US customer. The electric axle from Schaeffler is an alternative solution to the fully integrated powertrain.
"We are offering the U.S. small SUV and crossover market an alternative to conventional AWD in the form of a high voltage axle," says McGrath.
An electric axle combines the general advantages of a hybrid drive with greater efficiency and driving comfort and performance. Additionally, Schaeffler is developing electric axles for battery electric vehicles.
Schaeffler’s hybrid/electric drive portfolio is an integral element of Schaeffler’s strategy ”Mobility for Tomorrow”.