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Driving towards zero emissions

The company already has several production orders for its compact electric drive systems

Schaeffler wants to play a major part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Schaeffler wants to play a major part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Automotive supplier, Schaeffler, has announced several production solutions for low-emission and zero-emissions driving.


Among the products showcased at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA), which ends this weekend, is a second-generation thermal management module that aims to reduce reducing emissions after a cold start.


According to Schaeffler, when a vehicle’s engine oil and transmission fluid are still cold at the beginning of a journey, friction in these units increases considerably and, as a result, so does fuel consumption and, indirectly, harmful emissions.


The thermal management module controls the cooling circuits of the engine, the transmission and additional electric drive units plus that of the battery.


At the beginning of the warm-up phase, all cooling circuits can be completely shut off to enable accelerated heating of the individual systems. The circuits managed by the module can be systematically controlled, depending on operating conditions and heat requirements in the vehicle’s cabin.


The actuators used in the thermal management module influence the functionality and service life of the engine too.


Measurements have shown that the utilisation of a thermal management module enables it to achieve up to three per cent improved fuel economy – and even more following a cold start at low outdoor temperatures, claims Schaeffler.


Looking ahead, Schaeffler anticipates electrified powertrains for vehicles to continually increase over the next few years. By 2030, as much as 30 per cent of all newly produced cars could be using all-electric traction systems, according to a recently proposed scenario. In that case, only 30 per cent would exclusively be equipped with an internal combustion engine and 40 per cent would have a hybrid powertrain.


“Even in this extreme scenario, two in three new vehicles would still have an IC engine on board,” said Professor Peter Gutzmer, chief technology officer, Schaeffler. “Consequently, we have to do everything within our means to further reduce the emissions of internal combustion engines.”


Schaeffler is also about to begin production of a plug-in hybrid powertrain that will enable the transfer of very high torques of up to 800Nm.


A patented branching of the power flow within the module makes it possible to transfer such high torques, said Schaeffler.


“Nobody can tell how soon electric vehicles will become widely accepted in the marketplace,” added Gutzmer. “Although it is clear that the entire automotive industry is on the road towards zero-emissions mobility. We intend to support this trend with technologies that are ready for production.”


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