From small self-driving vehicles for megacities to extremely efficient drives for the SUVs and pick-ups preferred in rural areas, it is a real balancing act when developing new vehicle and drive concepts. Automotive manufacturers must also consider the trend toward digital networking into consideration.
Mobility supplier, Schaeffler, is presenting technical solutions for these requirements at NAIAS, including a hybrid module for light duty vehicles, which make up approximately 60 percent of all new registrations in the United States. In order to meet the high comfort demands from its customers, Schaeffler has combined the electric motor with an integral hydrodynamic converter. Development of a production version of the module is already underway for a U.S. automotive manufacturer. Other items on display at the show include an electric wheel hub drive which allows small, maneuverable self-driving taxis to be built for the urban environment.
"We think there is a real opportunity for electric drives in the North American market," said Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive, and member of the management board of Schaeffler. "However, the internal combustion engine will continue to dominate over the next few years."
Schaeffler is therefore also working on solutions that will improve the efficiency and performance of conventional drives. The supplier sees mild 48 volt hybrid systems, which can be integrated into vehicle powertrains without making significant alterations to the vehicle or drive architecture, as a particularly attractive option.
"For vehicles with an internal combustion engine, a 48 volt drive improves the performance while reducing emissions at very low additional cost," said Zink.
Schaeffler has been active in the North American automotive market since 1964 and established its first production facility in South Carolina in 1969. Schaeffler currently employs close to 10,000 people in North America. Engineers are currently working on innovative mobility solutions at four Schaeffler development centers in Troy, Mich., Fort Mill, S.C., Wooster, Ohio and Puebla, Mexico. In May 2016, Schaeffler announced investments of approximately $84 million in its U.S. locations, accounting for nearly 400 new jobs.
"Schaeffler is contributing to helping the North American automotive industry respond to the major challenges the future holds," said Marc McGrath, Schaeffler's president of automotive for the Americas. "Our automaker customers are looking for innovative ways to meet the increasing demands of the evolving auto industry. Schaeffler's recent investments in local infrastructure and expertise will enable us to develop solutions for next generation vehicle architectures and innovations to address our customers' needs."
The Schaeffler Group is one of the world's leading integrated automotive and industrial suppliers. The company stands for the highest quality, outstanding technology, and strong innovative ability. The Schaeffler Group makes a decisive contribution to "Mobility for tomorrow" with high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications. The technology company generated sales of approximately 13.2 billion euros in 2015. With around 85,000 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world's largest companies in family ownership. It has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies at approximately 170 locations in over 50 countries.
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