Continental has entered into a partnership with DeepDrive to develop core technologies for electric vehicles. The first step in the partnership will be the joint development of a combined unit comprising drive and brake components that can be mounted directly on a vehicle wheel.
DeepDrive, based in Munich, is a developer of electric motors for large-scale automobile production. In this tie-up, Continental will contribute its technological expertise in brake systems and industrialisation.
Both companies hope to capitalise on the potential to place all chassis functions, including the drive, directly on the wheel in electrified vehicles. In order to best meet the particular requirements of electric vehicles, such as maximising driving range while minimising installation space and introducing modularity, optimisation at the vehicle level is necessary. The optimal coordination of brake and drive systems is a key factor, with the integration of both elements in one unit enabling a high level of efficiency in the drive and when braking. Having integrated components also reduces complexity through modularisation and facilitates the manufacturing process.
“We are convinced that the development of our dual-rotor motor will revolutionise the electrification of motor vehicles,” stated Felix Poernbacher, co-founder and managing director of DeepDrive. “The strategic partnership with Continental makes it possible to combine our drive system with the brake technology needed to create an innovative electric component essential to the mobility of tomorrow. The soaring demand for such technology demonstrates that this is the right way to go.”
Innovative drive-brake unit
DeepDrive’s patented dual-rotor, radial-flux motor can be installed as a central drive unit or as a wheel hub drive in series production vehicles. The partners will focus on developing an efficient, compact wheel hub drive optimised with a view to cost-effective production, with Continental contributing brake components and its expertise in industrialising products through to series development.
The first stage of the collaboration will see a hydraulic brake integrated into the drive-brake unit. In the second step, the companies plan to integrate dry braking systems without hydraulic components into DeepDrive’s wheel-hub drive. The combination of drive and brake in one unit is also the first step towards a compact corner module with integrated chassis components, such as air suspension systems from Continental, mounted directly on the wheel.