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Electric Vehicle News

Schaeffler debut 880 kW AWD Concept Electric Audi RS3 [VIDEO]
Posted on Wednesday May 30, 2018

The “Schaeffler 4ePerformance” concept vehicle demonstrates with its impressive driving performance how quickly modern motorsport technology can be put on the road.

The “Schaeffler 4ePerformance” is a good example of how technology is transferred from motor racing to a close-to-volume-production drive concept. The fully-electric vehicle is powered by four Formula E motors with a total power output of 880 kW (1,200 PS) that come from the ABT Schaeffler FE01 Formula E racing car. All of the four drives have been in use throughout the entire second Formula E season – and very successfully. What is more, these electric motors were the basis for world champion Lucas di Grassi’s electric drive from his 2016/2017 championship season.

Schaeffler has been active in ABB FIA Formula E, the world’s first electric racing series, from the first season. This makes the automotive supplier one of the pioneers of electric mobility that have believed in the vision of electric motorsport. The electric racing series is an ideal test field for the development of electric mobility technologies and perfectly suits the company’s corporate strategy “Mobility for tomorrow”, with which the globally active technology group helps shape the future of mobility.

The relevance of the development close to volume production is especially reflected by the “Schaeffler 4ePerformance” concept vehicle, where knowledge of comprehensive systems expertise, drives, and software and battery management is transferred directly to all of the Schaeffler Group's development departments. In the case of the “Schaeffler 4ePerformance”, the relevant expert areas of Schaeffler Motorsports, the Schaeffler E-Mobility business division, and the company’s subsidiaries Schaeffler Engineering and Compact Dynamics have worked closely together, and were complimented by ABT Sportsline’s expertise with regard to the entire vehicle. The impressive high-performance vehicle is based on the steel body of a high-volume production vehicle. The implementation of this project resulted from a joint idea by Lucas di Grassi and Prof. Peter Gutzmer. The objective of this idea was to gain the best possible learning results from Formula E and apply them to volume production.

The “Schaeffler 4ePerformance” is powered by no fewer than four Formula E drives from the winning ABT Schaeffler FE01 racing car, each of which provides a power output of 220 kW. In total, an all-electric drive power of up to 880 kW (approx. 1,200 PS) is available, accelerating the concept racing car from 0 to 200 km/h in less than 7 seconds. Each individual motor is directly connected to a wheel by means of a spur gear unit, while two motors share one gearbox housing and thereby form an electric twin axle. This architecture enables selective control of drive torque to individual wheels (torque vectoring). The power required for this is provided by two batteries with an overall capacity of 64 kWh. “For Schaeffler, this vehicle is a test laboratory on wheels thanks to its free scaling options for the drive power. We are currently testing and developing our own driving dynamics control system, which is based on physical vehicle and wheel modeling. We have been learning a lot especially in the area of software-based driving dynamics control systems”, says Simon Opel, Director Special Projects Motorsports at Schaeffler.

“In the same way as Schaeffler has contributed its technical expertise to Formula E from the very beginning, it also plays a pioneering role and is a partner for components and complete system solutions when it comes to applying electric mobility to volume production vehicles and putting them on the road”, says Prof. Peter Gutzmer, CTO of Schaeffler. The automotive supplier offers a wide range of products for electric mobility and the electrification of the entire drive train: From technologies for 48-volt hybridization and high-voltage hybrid modules that have been tested in volume production through to modular electric axles that will soon also be applied in renowned upper-class electric vehicles in Europe, after first volume-production solutions have been offered in China. “Schaeffler 4ePerformance” could be a supplement to volume-production drive concepts for electric high-performance sports cars.

The facts at a glance

  • Motors from the Abt Schaeffler FE01 Formula E racing car (season II)
  • Integration of four electric motors with a power output of 220 kW each (Pmax)
  • Overall power output of 880 kW (approx. 1,200 PS)
  • MGU with 320 Nm of peak torque
  • From 0 to 200 km/h in less than 7 seconds
  • Selective wheel drive
  • Battery capacity: 64 kWh
  • Concept and overall vehicle design: Schaeffler Technologies
  • Overall design and manufacturing of the gearbox: Schaeffler Engineering
  • Vehicle design: Schaeffler Technologies & ABT Sportsline
  • Motor and gearbox efficiency of approx. 95 percent under full-load conditions.

    Mercedes-Benz EQC: Development and testing details [VIDEO]
    Posted on Thursday May 10, 2018


    2019 will see the launch of the EQC - the first all-electric Mercedes-Benz model from the new product and technology brand EQ. Between January and March, prototypes of the new model series completed tough winter testing in northern Sweden. The next waystations on the road to series production are more suspension/powertrain tests as well as integrated complete-vehicle high-temperature testing in southern Europe. Systematic complete-vehicle validation serves to guarantee our high quality standards and is one of the extensive measures in the development process of every Mercedes-Benz model series.
    Before going into production, a new vehicle must reach a maturity level specifically defined by Mercedes-Benz.
    Testing: a vital precursor to the launch of every vehicle
    • Totally digital: Digital testing covers all key areas of vehicle development: from simulation and validation of construction feasibility to crash performance, aerodynamics, ride & handling, NVH (noise/vibration/harshness), weight through to consumption and range.
    • From computer screen to test bench and onto the road: Despite all the advantages of digital testing in terms of speed, data availability and efficiency – no vehicle goes into series production without extensive real-world testing. The focus here is on the durability of components such as drivetrains on the test bench and the functional testing of the entire vehicle under various climatic conditions on the road. In the case of the EQC, of course, special attention is paid to the electric powertrain and the battery. They too are tested and approved in accordance with Mercedes-Benz's extremely strict standards.
    • Everything a question of proportion: A special role is also played by the acoustics of an electric vehicle, as, unlike in a combustion-engined vehicle, there is hardly a sound from the powertrain. This makes sounds such as the rolling of the tyres or wind noise more prominent. To meet these special requirements, we rely on our many years of experience in the area of NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness).
    • One third/two thirds: With a ratio of 35% to 65% between digital testing and real-world testing, we combine the best of both worlds  in the interests of the customary high quality standards of Mercedes-Benz.
    • Almost 200: That's how many prototypes and preproduction vehicles are built and tested for this purpose in our workshops.
    • Several hundred: Before being released for production, the vehicle must be tested and validated by numerous individuals from many different development departments. A total of several hundred experts are involved in testing. From the specialist departments, which approve their components and modules, through to testing/endurance testing of the complete vehicle.
    • Around four years: All in all, the EQC will have been in development for around four years.
    • Three winters and three summers: The EQC will be subjected over three winters and three summers to extreme conditions from minus 35° to over plus 50° Celsius.
    • A true cosmopolitan: Before coming to market in many countries around the world, the EQC will have undergone extensive testing in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Dubai, South Africa, the USA and China.
    To meet the targets for every component and the complete vehicle, the EQC will soon undergo a stress programme in the heat of Spain. Here the effects of temperature during driving is tested under extreme conditions, and also other particularly challenging aspects for an electric vehicle, such as air conditioning and charging. Because one thing is clear: the EQC must offer the quality and driving experience of every Mercedes-Benz.


    Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo: From the PlayStation to the race track
    Posted on Monday April 09, 2018

    With the fully electric “Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo” concept car Audi is now turning electric mobility into a tangible experience in a unique way. Originally developed exclusively for virtual races on PlayStation 4, Audi is making the new race car reality in conjunction with Formula E. Starting with the race in Rome on Saturday, April 14, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo will be deployed as a race taxi.

    “E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG. “That is why in 2017 Audi was the first German manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment. In our development laboratory motorsport, we are continuously expanding our expertise in e-mobility and gathering valuable experience also in extremely demanding conditions. With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races – in the middle of the world’s metropolises.”

    The customers and guests of the brand with the four rings will be able to experience Formula E’s city circuits as passengers in the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo starting at the race in Rome (April 14). Employees at Audi’s pre-production center developed and produced this one-of-a-kind car within the space of just eleven months based on the example of the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo from the “Gran Turismo” PlayStation game. The million-selling “Gran Turismo” game has long acquired cult status with gamers around the globe. Audi has been working together with Sony and Polyphony Digital – the creators of “Gran Turismo” – for nearly 20 years. Audi designers created the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo for the “Vision Gran Turismo” competition that was launched on the market on the occasion of the popular game’s 15th anniversary. Numerous automobile manufacturers developed virtual race cars for the contest.

    Many of these concept cars were subsequently built as full-scale models as well and presented at trade shows. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo, however, is the first concept car of this range to be deployed to real-world race tracks as a fully functional vehicle. “This is what we are particularly proud of,” says Audi’s chief designer Marc Lichte. “Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are only hard to implement in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels. Our aim was a fully functional car. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo shows that electric mobility at Audi is very emotive. This car incorporates numerous elements of our new design language such as the inverted single frame in the vehicle’s color that will be typical for our new e-tron models.”

    Audi has deliberately taken up design elements and the color of the legendary Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO with which the company in 1989 thrilled motorsport fans in the North American IMSA-GTO racing series with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl, Hurley Haywood and Scott Goodyear. Featuring a combination of systematic lightweight design and quattro drive paired with a powerful five-cylinder turbo engine, the car was far ahead of its time back then.

    The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo has permanent all-wheel drive as well, the fully electric e-tron quattro all-wheel drive with variable power distribution. Three electric motors, each with output of 200 kW, propel the concept car. Two electric motors drive the rear axle and the third one the front axle, using individual components from the future Audi e-tron. System output is 600 kW (815 hp). With a curb weight of 1,450 kilograms the electric race car has a power to weight ratio of 1.78 kilo­grams per horsepower with ideal 50:50 percent weight distribution between the front and the rear axle. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

    The futuristic race taxi will be deployed at all European Formula E races and numerous other events in 2018. At the wheel will be former DTM driver Rahel Frey from Switzerland or Le Mans winner Dindo Capello from Italy.

    Electric planes to race from London to Darwin in 2019
    Posted on Wednesday March 28, 2018

    Electric aircraft will race from London to Darwin next year to mark the centenary of the Great Air Race.

    The race and a series of other events in the Top End will celebrate 100 years since Captain Ross Smith, Lieutenant Keith Smith and Sergeants Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett won the first event.

    "The 1919 Great Air Race captured the imagination of people across the globe," Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Saturday.

    "Under the command of Captain Ross Smith, the journey has been described as the flight that changed the world and paved the way for national and international air travel."

    The 2019 event, to be known as the Centenary E-Race, will start in London late next year and stop over in at least 15 countries before making its way to Darwin.

    It is hoped that world-leading technology companies including Tesla, NASA, Airbus, Virgin and Boeing will enter in celebration of a century of aviation innovation and achievement by engineers, designers and aircraft constructors.

    The advantages of electric aircraft are huge, however, achieving long distance flight in an electric aircraft is still the greatest challenge. There are currently three approaches to tackling this problem, battery electric, hydrogen fuel-cell electric, and hybrid combustion-engine electric.

    Captain Smith and his colleagues flew a Vickers Vimy Biplane more than 18,000km in 28 days in 1919, with the race acting as a catalyst for international travel and improved communications.

    John Storey, an expert in battery and solar technology, said the 2019 race would fast-track renewable flight technology by years and contribute to improving the e-aviation industry.

    "The event is technically feasible, however, completing the route in an electric aircraft is by no means a foregone conclusion," Professor Storey said.

    "That makes 2019 the right time to stage it. In 2009 it would have been impossible, in 2029 it will be routine."

    The program of celebrations in Darwin will include an air show, centenary ball, commemorative ceremonies and education programs for schools.

    The Ross Smith Memorial at Fannie Bay will also undergo significant conservation work.

    Source: Great Air Race

    Volkswagen reveal ID-R all-electric prototype Pikes Peak racer
    Posted on Monday March 19, 2018

    Volkswagen has named its latest motorsport project the I.D. R Pikes Peak. This all-electric prototype racing car will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on 24 June in Colorado.

    The four-wheel-drive racing car points to the sporting potential of the I.D. family of all-electric vehicles and is also the first step towards a closer relationship between Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport.

    The Volkswagen brand plans to offer more than 20 fully-electric cars by 2025. Manufacture of the first production model of the I.D. family is scheduled to start at the end of 2019 in Zwickau, Germany.

    "We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family. Competing in the most famous hillclimb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars."
    —Dr. Frank Welsch, Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development

    The international Pikes Peak Hill Climb, also known as the “Race to the Clouds”, has been held since 1916 near Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains. The 12.4-mile route starts at just above 9,000 feet and climbs to the summit at 14,115 feet above sea level.

    Volkswagen last entered the Pikes Peak hillclimb in 1987 with a spectacular dual-engine Golf, which generated 652 horsepower. However, Volkswagen did not win.

    "It is about time we settled the score. The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible in motorsport with an electric drivetrain. The entire team behind our driver Romain Dumas is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars."
    —Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets

    The record in the electric prototype class currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes, set in 2016 by New Zealand’s Rhys Millen.