Schaeffler’s Fiesta E-Wheel Drive concept car successfully competed against other electric vehicles in the Silvretta E-Car Rally Race held for the fourth time in Montafon, Austria. The pre-production model featuring innovative electric wheel hub drives was developed on the basis of a Ford Fiesta in collaboration with Ford. The electric vehicle race over three alpine stages on three days required the drivers to make economical use of kilowatts, volts and amperes to avoid penalty points and finish with sufficient battery charge. The E-Wheel Drive wheel hub drive is an advance development project of the automotive supplier Schaeffler and Ford. During the alpine tour, however, it showed an impressive performance among the other electric vehicles, several of which are already in volume production.
“Schaeffler wanted to gain additional experience with regard to the level of development of our drive that is intended for the electric city vehicles of the future”, explains Prof. Peter Gutzmer, Chief Technology Officer at Schaeffler. “We completed the challenging three-day Silvretta E-Car Rally with the pre-production model without any problems even on long and steep hills and during downhill driving with energy recovery, which is a significant advantage offered by electric vehicles.”
The Fiesta E-Wheel Drive is powered by two highly-integrated wheel hub drives that are installed in the rear wheel arches. All components required for driving, deceleration and driving safety, such as electric motor, power electronics and controller, brake, and cooling system, are fitted in the wheel rims. They boast technical key data of 40 kW per drive, and a continuous output of 2 x 33 kW. When viewed as a traditional reading, this equates to 110 and 90 horsepower, respectively. The liquid-cooled wheel hub drive delivers up to 700 Nm of torque. The electrical voltage of the high-voltage drive is 360 - 420 V.
“The B-segment vehicle serves as a pre-production model. However, wheel hub drives have to be integrated into new vehicle concepts in order to demonstrate their strengths to the full,” explains Prof. Peter Gutzmer, who shared the cockpit with Prof. Pim van der Jagt, Managing Director of Ford Research & Advanced Engineering Europe. “Thanks to this highly-integrated wheel hub drive, we can now re-think the city car without restrictions,” says Prof. Peter Gutzmer. “This drive will be a key factor in new vehicle concepts and automobile platforms in the future. For electric vehicles used in urban environments, which may become obligatory in many densely populated areas, the wheel hub drive enables previously unknown space savings that cannot be achieved with internal combustion engines. In these new vehicle concepts, all components that are relevant for propulsion, braking, and driving safety are housed inside the wheel. The vehicle platform therefore provides maximum space for passengers, luggage, and for the battery, electronics, and communication systems.”