Continental Tire has developed its “New Wheel Concept” to optimize braking performance in electric vehicles.

Comprised of two aluminum parts, the concept utilizes a carrier star, which remains permanently bolted to the wheel hub, and the rim well, which is bolted to the star.

Unusually, the wheel brake is fastened to the axle’s wheel carrier and engages from the inside with an annular aluminum brake disc. This in turn is bolted to the carrier star. The internal brake permits a wide braking surface, since the space available in the wheel is optimally utilized. The larger braking surface provides a better friction radius, allowing smaller and lighter calipers.

“In EVs, it’s crucial that the driver expends as little energy as possible on the friction brake,” said Paul Linhoff, head of Brake Pre-Development in the Chassis & Safety Business Unit at Continental. “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.”

After comprehensive testing, Continental predicts the brake disc itself will, unlike cast-iron discs, not be subject to wear. The explanation for this is the New Wheel Concept only inflicts abrasion on the braking pads. The design of this concept is also said to make replacing them – and the wheels – much easier.

The corrosion-free brake discs are made of aluminum and therefore provide a constant friction surface condition. This is an important prerequisite for electric vehicles, where friction brakes are not constantly in use.

“Electromobility needs new solutions for braking technology too,” said Matthias Matic, head of Continental’s Hydraulic Brake Systems Business Unit. “Using conventional brakes is not very effective in this case. The New Wheel Concept meets all the demands that electric driving places on the brake. We used our braking know-how to develop a solution that provides a consistently reliable braking effect in the electric vehicle.”

The phrase “reinventing the wheel” gets tossed around a great deal. This time, it actually almost applies. Continental will demonstrate the New Wheel Concept at the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show.

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