Vacuum-Free Braking May Be in Next Generation of GM Trucks

Reducing weight is one good way to improve fuel economy, and auto-industry suppliers who work on brakes have been trying to replace conventional vacuum-style boosters in order to cut vehicle mass for a long time.

One solution is electrically actuated brakes, and supplier ZF TRW said that it expects market penetration to be 8 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2025, according to Ward’s Auto.

The newest piece of equipment from ZF TRW is Integrated Brake Control. This system replaces the master cylinder, vacuum pump, and hoses; replacing them with a volleyball-sized one-piece module that integrates the stability control system, traction control system, and an electric motor that pumps the brake fluid to where it’s needed.

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This system saves 13 pounds and half the packaging area while allowing for 10 percent more regenerative braking. ZF TRW said that this system will be supplied to a North American automaker in 2018, and to a global one in 2019.

Sources told Ward’s that the first use of Integrated Brake Control will be on the next generation of General Motors’ full-size pickups and SUVs. That group includes the Chevrolet Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra, and GMC Yukon.

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It won’t be cheap – at first, this system will cost twice the amount of a conventional braking system. But ZF TRW told the media that the price is expected to reach cost parity within a decade.

“If we are not cutting in half the price in 10 years, then the market will not be there,” Manfred Meyer, Vice President, Braking Engineering, said during a ZF TRW demonstration.

“You have significant advantages with this system,” he says. “Because of this, automakers are paying more for these advantages and because they want brake systems that are vacuum-less.”

Continental will actually beat ZF TRW to market with a brake-by-wire system that will be installed on a European model slated to be sold in the U.S.

Both systems should enable faster stopping times, and work better with autonomous driving systems. Not only will the reduced weight save on fuel economy, so too will the reduction in the engine drag that comes from conventional brake boosters. This system can be used with disc or drum brakes.

Ward’s reported that the system worked well in demonstrations.

Ward’s