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Schaeffler to Offer ‘More Efficient and Sustainable Electric Powertrain’
Schaeffler says its new electronic component can extend the range of EVs. © Maurizio Fabbroni

Schaeffler to Offer ‘More Efficient and Sustainable Electric Powertrain’

By Boris Kamchev - Aug 31, 2021

Schaeffler, the German automotive and industrial component maker, is preparing to unveil its 800-volt power electronics system for electric axle applications in high-performance electric vehicles.

The system “makes electric powertrains even more efficient and sustainable,” the company said. It features a built-in thermal management component that uses fluid coolants and refrigerants to allow longer intervals between charging.

The presentation is scheduled for the International Mobility Show in Germany (IAA Mobility), which will be held in person Sept. 7-12 in Munich.

The electronic component offers a scalable solution for continuous outputs of up to 330 kilowatts (450 horsepower) and short-term peak outputs of up to 500 kW (680 hp), Schaeffler said. As a result, the range of the EVs can be extended.

“The overall range of electric vehicles will be noticeably increased,” the company said in a recent press release. “The charging speeds achievable with the 800-volt battery class are considerably higher than those achieved with the 400-volt class that has been widely used to date.”  

Schaeffler’s unit is equipped with a built-in thermal management component that the company said was being used “for the first time” in a single EV drivetrain system. Experts agree that optimal thermal control is crucial to extend the range of EVs.

“To achieve a high level of efficiency, our thermal management system continuously regulates the temperature – particularly of the battery but also of the electric motor and the power electronics – which is adapted to the ambient and operating conditions,” Schaeffler said. “The system also controls the temperature in the interior of the vehicle and simultaneously ensures the best possible vehicle range.”

The system is equipped with two electric water pumps, the central electronic unit for the pumps and valves, and a refrigeration circuit interface, which are all integrated in the central control unit for coolants and refrigerants.

“Compared with conventional, non-integrated systems, this reduces the required installation space by up to 60 percent and, with its hydraulically optimized design, lays the foundation for a high degree of overall system efficiency,” Schaeffler said.

The Herzogenaurach, Germany–based company designs integrated electric powertrains, including e-axles. It takes credit for “groundbreaking inventions and developments in the fields of motion and mobility for over 70 years.”

“Because the Schaeffler components are integrated, all of them can be perfectly matched to each other, which leads to a higher system efficiency,” Boris Zhmud, chief technology officer at Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS), told Lubes’n’Greases.

ANS, based in Uppsala, Sweden, offers solutions for friction and wear reduction.

Zhmud said that because the automotive component maker has control over the entire design, “they can carry out accurate heat transfer simulations and optimize thermal management of the unit.”

According to the expert, EV thermal management usually features direct cooling and the fluid plays an important role.

“In most cases,” he said, “the EV makers use automatic transmission fluids for battery thermal control and overall thermal management.”