Schaeffler demonstrates propulsion systems for the entire energy chain at the 2018 NAIAS
According to Schaeffler, EV technology focuses on just one element of the mobility of tomorrow. That's the reason why the company featured a variety of propulsion systems at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
"Electric vehicles can essentially meet people's needs for environmentally friendly mobility in urban areas, but the propulsion concept of a vehicle is not the only important factor," said Prof. Peter Gutzmer, CTO, Schaeffler. "Equally important is the way in which the energy needed for propulsion is generated and stored. Otherwise, there is a risk that CO2 emissions are merely shifted from one place to another."
According to calculations made by Schaeffler, an electric vehicle still emits up to 65% of the CO2 amount of a comparable vehicle with a gasoline engine, based on the current electricity mix within North America. By contrast, if the batteries of an electric vehicle are charged with 100% electricity generated by renewable sources, its CO2 emissions will drop to just 3% of those of a conventional vehicle.
The company says that this shows sustainable mobility can only be achieved if the primary energy for locomotion comes from renewable sources, such as wind power, solar power, hydropower, or geothermal energy.
Electricity from renewable sources can also be used to produce synthetic natural gas or synthetic liquid fuel. For instance, to produce substitute diesel fuel based on "green electricity," synthetic fuels are produced using electrical energy and subsequently synthesized in several process steps. Under certain prerequisites, the resulting designer fuels can be near-CO2-neutral across the entire energy chain and made available by the existing filling station network to power the internal combustion engines of vehicles.
"The internal combustion engine will continue to be an important element in transporting people and goods," said Matthias Zink, CEO of Schaeffler Automotive. "This not only refers to passenger cars, but, above all, to commercial vehicles, ships, and aircraft for which no serious battery-electric alternative will be available in the foreseeable future."
The company says that a look at the entire energy chain shows there is no single solution for mobility of tomorrow. In addition to the further optimization of the conventional internal combustion engine and the transmission that goes with it, Schaeffler says its engineers are working on solutions to electrify the powertrain, optimally coordinated interaction of the internal combustion engine and the electric motor for hybrid vehicles, and on tailor-made, efficient electric drive systems for electric vehicles.
"As an integrated automotive and industrial supplier, we are positioned along the entire energy chain and have defined a correspondingly broad product portfolio. Our customized and comprehensive solutions for a wide range of drive concepts are contributing to helping the North American automotive industry overcome the major challenges the future holds," stated Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG. "We will further strengthen our automotive business in North America with additional investments and in turn actively drive 'mobility for tomorrow' forward."