Schaeffler fuel-smart concept vehicle to employ several technologies developed in North America

  • 15-Jan-2013 01:00 EST
Schaeffler All-Wheel Drive Disconnect Clutch (AWD Disconnect).jpg

Schaeffler's all-wheel-drive disconnect clutch will be a key technology on its upcoming demonstration vehicle.

In the coming weeks, technical specialists will equip a MY2013 Ford Escape with several fuel-smart innovations from Schaeffler, including its thermal-management module, AWD disconnect clutch, permanently engaged starter/generator, and latching valve. The latter three technologies were conceived and developed in North America.

“We think we’re under $40 per percent of fuel-economy improvement,” Jeff Hemphill, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer for Schaeffler Group North America, said in an interview with SAE International Magazines at NAIAS.

The thermal-management module to be fitted on the vehicle demonstrator (called Efficient Future Mobility North America) will be similar to the Schaeffler unit used by Audi in some production vehicles.

“But this version won’t have quite as much functionality,” Hemphill said about the module that allows the optimum engine temperature to be reached in the shortest time possible and allows temperature balance to be precisely controlled.

Integration of a thermal-management module can provide a 1% reduction in fuel consumption for city and highway driving.

Schaeffler’s AWD disconnect clutch, which decouples the unused drive axle from the drivetrain depending on the driving situation, can generate fuel savings of up to 2% in city driving and up to 6% in highway driving. The permanently engaged starter/generator with a wrap-spring one-way clutch can provide up to 6% fuel savings in city traffic.

The AWD disconnect clutch, the permanently engaged starter/generator, and the latching valve are all second-generation, under-development technologies. “These technologies could start production development later this year [and] enter production in the 2017 model year based on their maturity,” said Hemphill.

Schaeffler’s SUV demonstrator is expected to be ready for ride-and-drive evaluations in the summer of 2013.

According to Hemphill, the initial demonstration vehicle with its conventional powertrain and fuel-smart Schaeffler technologies is designed to meet CAFE standards for 2020. The company's follow-up demonstrator vehicle will add hybrid systems, with the goal of fulfilling CAFE requirements for 2025.

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