DETROIT and HERZOGENAURACH, Germany, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- During its press conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Schaeffler presented a new concept vehicle. The Efficient Future Mobility North America vehicle is based on a mid-size SUV and shows the range of Schaeffler solutions for optimizing North American internal combustion engine drive trains. All of the showcased solutions are cost-effective, close to volume production and, when integrated into an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, make a valuable contribution to reducing fuel consumption. The overall potential for savings is up to 15 percent, bringing North American vehicles closer to fulfilling the increasingly stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
"Schaeffler's meticulously detailed work on drive trains based on internal combustion engines offers significant potential for reducing fuel consumption and emissions," summarizes Prof. Peter Gutzmer, CTO of Schaeffler AG. "In keeping with Schaeffler's established concept vehicles, the Efficient Future Mobility North America vehicle plays a key role in development and serves as a demonstration vehicle for the components and systems that are bundled within it. Even with the efficient platform we selected, we still see further potential for optimization. Here the solutions on display take the market-specific demands and customer requirements in North America into account."
Accordingly, the concept vehicle is based on the current version of a mid-size SUV that is popular in North America and - as is the case with the majority of North American vehicles - features an automatic transmission with a torque converter. Overall, the detailed solutions displayed in the Efficient Future Mobility North America vehicle make it possible to achieve additional fuel savings of up to 14 to 15 percent, depending on the utilization profile. Schaeffler solutions such as the thermal management module and AWD separating clutch play a role as do Schaeffler's engine start-stop innovations, such as the permanently engaged starter with a wrap spring one-way clutch. The fuel savings improvements are the result of friction optimization work being carried out on belt drives and valve trains, as well as advancements to balancer shafts and wheel bearings – a mechanism for aerodynamically optimized closing of radiator grills – and the optimization of the torque converter.
The new AWD separating clutch, which decouples the unused drive axle from the drive train depending on the driving situation to provide a savings contribution of up to six percent (on the highway), is an example of the of drive train optimization potential achievable with Schaeffler's advanced technologies. The savings that can be achieved in city traffic are approximately two percent. However, the permanently engaged starter generator with a wrap spring one-way clutch can offer additional city driving improvements. In addition to a considerable increase in comfort, due to the smooth engine start-stop function, and a significant improvement in so-called "change of mind" situations (in which the engine is already switched off, but the driver quickly decides to drive on), this innovation helps to achieve fuel savings of up to six percent in city traffic.
This new engine start-stop solution also delivers fuel consumption benefits on the highway, as it provides additional functions such as "sailing" where the drive train decouples and the internal combustion engine switches off as the vehicle is moving at high speed. An additional one percent reduction in fuel consumption and an important emissions contribution can be achieved through the integration of a thermal management module. This module allows the optimum engine operating temperature to be reached in the shortest time possible and the temperature balance, into which components such as transmission and hybrid elements are also integrated, to be precisely controlled.
The Schaeffler demonstration vehicle, which was developed in North America, demonstrates ways in which future CAFE requirements can be met using existing cost-effective technology. "The project is structured in two phases," explains Jeff Hemphill, CTO of Schaeffler North America. "The objective of phase one is to fulfill the requirements for the year 2020. In the second phase, we will add hybrid systems with the aim of fulfilling the requirements for the year 2025."
"Schaeffler is an established and globally oriented development, industrialization, and manufacturing partner for automobile manufacturers," explains Dr. Juergen M. Geissinger, CEO of Schaeffler AG. "With a total of 180 locations in more than 50 countries and a global network of 40 research and development centers, we are true to our 'In the region, for the region' motto. Our customers benefit locally from our regional strength. At the same time, Schaeffler's regional expertise strengthens the global network – which benefits our customers who also operate globally and to whom we provide decisive support in creating advanced solutions for modern, energy-efficient mobility."
With its product brands INA, LuK and FAG, Schaeffler is a leading provider of rolling and plain bearing solutions, and linear and direct drive technology, as well as a renowned supplier of high-precision products and systems for engines, transmissions and chassis applications to the automotive industry. The global group of companies generated sales of approximately 10.7 billion Euro in 2011. With approximately 76,000 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of the largest German and European industrial companies in family ownership. With 180 locations in more than 50 countries, Schaeffler has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, sales companies, engineering offices and training centers.
To serve the North American automotive market, Schaeffler operates development centers in: Troy, Mich.; Fort Mill, S.C.; Wooster, Ohio; and Puebla, Mexico. The company's 400 North American engineers and technicians, who are supported by a team of more than 5,500 global engineers, drive development in the region utilizing state-of-the-art test and measurement equipment, computational tools and CAD systems. Schaeffler Automotive has headquarters in Fort Mill and manufacturing facilities in: South Carolina; Missouri; Ohio; Ontario, Canada; Puebla and Irapuato, Mexico. For more information, please visit www.schaeffler.us.