One of the few ways EVs are going to change the automobile entirely.
The widespread adoption of the electric car is digging a few skeletons out of the internal combustion engine’s closet, including the fact that many components designed to work best on conventional cars aren’t as efficient as they can be for EVs. Take the brakes for example. With regenerative braking systems taking over some of the responsibility, an electric or hybrid car can make its pads and rotors last tens of thousands of miles more than on a gasoline-fed counterpart.
This is forcing some component producers to change how they do things. Parts supplier Continental is rethinking how electric powertrains will change the wheel and brake assembly in cars of the future. Part of the reason for this is that different usage parameters will force engineers to think of issues that could arise from more sparing use. Take the brakes for example. With much of the burden being shifted to the regenerative braking system, standard steel rotors can begin to corrode, which can put drivers in danger when the brakes are needed for emergency stops. To get around that issue, Continental has unveiled a concept wheel and brake assembly that it thinks could be a viable engineering solution.
In this case, the wheel is broken into two parts, an aluminum carrier star that’s permanently bolted to the wheel hub, and a rim well that’s then bolted to the star. Continental breaks down the braking process itself. “The wheel brake is fastened to the wheel carrier of the axle and engages from the inside with an annular aluminum brake disk, which in turn is bolted to the carrier star. The internal brake permits a wide brake disk friction radius, since the space available in the wheel is optimally utilized.” Sounds confusing right? Continental’s diagram helps break it down better, but the important thing to take away is that the braking surface is on the inside of the rotor rather than outside of it.
This has the dual effect of lessening the overall weight of the assembly, preventing corrosion, making brake pad and wheel changes easier, and making it so that the disks aren’t subject to wear. See, not everything that’ll come out of this electric car revolution is going to be bad.