This September’s Detroit event built on the Global Symposium held in Baden-Baden, Germany in April, with new developments focused on the North American market, emphasizing technologies for future mobility, including components and solutions for optimizing conventional and electrified powertrains. “Today’s auto industry is transforming into a mobility industry,” said Jeff Hemphill (left), CTO of Schaeffler Americas. “Tightening global regulations, new mobility business models and rapidly evolving technologies make designing a vehicle technology portfolio as exciting as it is challenging.”
Corner-oriented concept carThe Mover concept is a flexible and emission-free platform engineered for a range of different low-speed vehicle applications. All the drive and chassis components are integrated in one vertical unit, called the “Schaeffler Intelligent Corner Module,” which integrates in-wheel motors with discreet steering capability at each vehicle corner to save space and enhance maneuverability. Flexibility was a key engineering goal on the Mover.
“It is pretty modular. It can be stretched, so you can make it a six-passenger, two-passenger, whatever you need.” Hemphill explained. “There's no doubt that when you put the motors in the wheel, it's more expensive. But our point of view has been new forms of mobility are where you're going to make enough advantage that it's finally worth it. You can completely reconfigure the vehicle because you don't have to package the powertrain.
“You can put a hat on it that's delivering prescriptions in a retirement community, for example, or moving packages around inside a warehouse – and it's literally just that skateboard,” Hemphill noted. “It's never going to be going more than say 40 miles an hour, so you don't have to worry as much about things like unsprung mass as you did in the past.”
Presenting but listeningThe Schaeffler Symposium was conceived as a forum for collaboration and partnership, including a full day of sharing ‘mobility for tomorrow’ topics supplemented by parallel sessions focusing on transmission, engine, eMobility and chassis technology. “One of the big values of the event for us is it forces us to really come together as an engineering organization and say ‘How do we see these issues together? What is our collective viewpoint?’” Hemphill explained. “You can get involved in the day-to-day work on all these individual products and end up with everybody standing in a different place in the field. So we come together to crystallize a point of view.”
Hemphill noted that one of the most positive aspects of the forum is not presenting, but the feedback they garner from attending engineers. “Nothing we've ever put in production happens without partnership from our customers,” he explained. “On a specific level, we hope an engineer maybe sees a technology that gives them an idea they can use, or maybe it's even not exactly what they need, but they come forward and say, ‘You know it's like that, but I'm trying to solve this problem.’ That happens quite a lot actually, so that's the conversation we're trying to get started.” Continue reading »