Maximum regenerative braking, easier maintenance
This week, tire manufacturer and major automotive supplier Continental officially introduced the New Wheel Concept that we first learned about at a preview event last month. Aimed at improving braking in electric vehicles, Continental says it not only optimizes the wheel and braking system for regenerative braking, it also makes the brake system easier to maintain.
The New Wheel Concept pairs an aluminum rim with a separate aluminum center star. The aluminum brake disc then attaches to the center star, while the brake caliper clamps to the inside of the disc. Because it’s not on the outside, the brake disc can be much larger than you’d normally be able to pair with a similar conventional wheel. And since most of the parts are aluminum, the New Wheel Concept significantly reduces weight and is naturally immune to corrosion. In fact, Continental claims the aluminum disc doesn’t wear at all, meaning the only real maintenance the New Wheel Concept will need is occasional new pads.
Continental says that rust-free brakes are especially important in electric vehicles. The regenerative braking that helps maximize battery range also reduces how often drivers actually use their brakes. When they do need them, it’s often in situations where reduced performance could be an issue, like an emergency stop.
“In EVs, it’s crucial that the driver expends as little energy as possible on the friction brake,” Paul Linhoff, head of Brake Pre-Development at Continental, said in a statement. “During a deceleration, the momentum of the vehicle is converted into electricity in the generator to increase the vehicle’s range. That’s why the driver continues to operate the brake pedal – but it certainly doesn’t mean that the wheel brakes are active too. Drivers want to be able to rely on a consistent braking effect – and too much rust on the brake disk in particular can really make this difficult.”
Look for the New Wheel Concept to make its official debut next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show.