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Schaeffler transfers winning Formula E drives into road vehicle

In association with Schaeffler

The Schaeffler 4ePerformance vehicle (Credit: Schaeffler)
The Schaeffler 4ePerformance vehicle (Credit: Schaeffler)

An all-electric car that goes from 0 to 125mph in less than 7 seconds – the Schaeffler 4ePerformance all-electric concept vehicle – demonstrates just how quickly modern motorsport technology can be put on the road and transferred to a close-to-volume-production drive concept.

The 4ePerformance car is powered by four Formula E motors that come from the ABT Schaeffler FE01 Formula E racing car. All four drives were in use throughout the entire second Formula E season – and very successfully. Furthermore, these electric motors were the basis for world champion Lucas di Grassi’s electric drive from his 2016/2017 championship season.

In total, an all-electric drive power of up to 880kW is available, accelerating the concept car from 0 to 200km/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’ve 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 these on the road,” explains Prof. Peter Gutzmer, CTO of Schaeffler. 

Schaeffler offers a wide range of products for electric mobility and the electrification of the entire drive train: from technologies for 48-Volt hybridisation and high-voltage hybrid modules that have been tested in volume production, through to modular electric axles that will also soon be applied in high-end electric vehicles in Europe, after first volume-production solutions have been offered in China.

Success in Formula E

Formula E is an FIA-sanctioned motor racing series for fully electric cars. In season five (2018/2019), 11 teams and 22 drivers are on the grid. Formula E races worldwide on temporary circuits in the hearts of metropolises such as Hong Kong, Berlin and New York City. From December 15, 2018 until July 14, 2019, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is holding 13 rounds at twelve venues. Each race lasts 45 minutes, plus one lap.

Schaeffler has been active in ABB FIA Formula E from the first season. In 2016/17, Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler won the drivers’ title (Lucas di Grassi) and in 2017/18, won the teams’ title (Lucas di Grassi/Daniel Abt). Schaeffler has been contributing its know-how to the development of the powertrain since 2015. In the current season, Formula E is entering its second era. Every driver now has only one race car. Mid-race car swaps are no longer necessary, as the battery capacity is now sufficient for the entire race distance. Also new to this season is the cars’ futuristic design, which has no rear wing, plus the Halo protection system above the cockpit.

The new Audi e-tron FE05 was meticulously developed by Audi Sport and Schaeffler with these new technical and strategic challenges in mind. The Audi Schaeffler MGU03 motor-generator unit, the centrepiece of the Audi e-tron FE05, was jointly developed by the two technology partners. 95% of all powertrain components are new, having resulted in weight savings of 10%.


Find out more at schaeffler.co.uk.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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