Continental introduces novel aluminum wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles
11 August 2017
Continental has developed a new wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles. The “New Wheel Concept” wheel rim consists of two aluminum (Al) parts: an inner Al carrier star with an Al brake disk and an outer Al rim well with the tire. In contrast to conventional wheel brakes, the New Wheel Concept brake engages the Al disk from the inside. This allows it to have a particularly large diameter, which benefits the braking performance.
To increase the vehicle’s range, deceleration in the EV generates as much electricity as possible through recuperation (= braking using the electric motor), so the wheel brake is used less frequently. The corrosion-free Al brake disk also prevents the formation of rust (as is normal on cast-iron disks) which can impair the braking effect.
Electromobility needs new solutions for braking technology too. Using conventional brakes is not very effective in this case. The New Wheel Concept meets all the demands that electric driving places on the brake. We used our braking know-how to develop a solution that provides a consistently reliable braking effect in the electric vehicle.
—Matthias Matic, Head of Continental’s Hydraulic Brake Systems Business Unit
The aluminum New Wheel Concept reduces the weight of the wheel and brake, enabling lightweight construction in EVs. Advantages of the concept are much easier wheel and brake pad changes and that the disk is not subject to wear.
During its development, the New Wheel Concept’s braking performance was initially designed for medium- and compact-class vehicles. In accordance with today’s requirements for this application, the brake is sturdy and fulfills all the established criteria—although it is used much less frequently in an EV.
In EVs, it’s crucial that the driver expends as little energy as possible on the friction brake. During a deceleration, the momentum of the vehicle is converted into electricity in the generator to increase the vehicle’s range. That’s why the driver continues to operate the brake pedal—but it certainly doesn’t mean that the wheel brakes are active too.
—Paul Linhoff, Head of Brake Pre-Development in the Chassis & Safety Business Unit at Continental.
The deceleration torque of the electric motor is only no longer sufficient by itself when the driver brakes more energetically, or braking also has to carried out with the non-driven axle for driving dynamics reasons. The wheel brake is needed in this situation. The automatic emergency braking function also has to fully rely on the availability of the friction brake effect.
Too much rust on the brake disk in particular can make a consistent braking effect difficult, Linhoff said. The reason behind the reduced performance is less friction between the brake pad and the brake disk.
The design of the New Wheel Concept uses the strengths of lightweight aluminum material for the brake. Due to the long leverage effect on the large brake disk, relatively low clamping forces are enough to provide a high level of braking efficiency. Since aluminum is a very good heat conductor, the heat generated in the disk during braking is quickly dissipated.
Continental assumes, after the results of the initial practical tests, that the Al disk itself is not subject to wear, unlike cast-iron disks. With the New Wheel Concept, abrasion only takes place on the pads, and the design of the Concept makes replacing them and the wheels much easier.
Another advantage is the noise behavior of the brake.
Because the brake disk is fixed on the outside and the brake engages from the inside, the brake caliper can be designed particularly light and stiff. The force is transmitted largely symmetrically into the center of the axle, and this has a favorable effect on the noise behavior of the brake.
Continental will demonstrate the New Wheel Concept during the International Motor Show, IAA in Frankfurt/Main next month.