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Knorr-Bremse sets up new eCubator development unit

Brake systems specialists Knorr-Bremse has taken the next step towards the age of electric mobility by bundling its expertise in the field of e-mobility within the eCubator, its own new development unit.

Plans envision as many as 60 in-house and external specialists working on innovative future-oriented solutions at Knorr-Bremse’s Munich and Budapest locations.

The electrification of commercial vehicles and the accompanying gradual substitution of the internal combustion engine require changes in vehicle architecture. As a result, the advent of electric mobility is set to fundamentally transform commercial vehicle system requirements. From traction, braking and steering, all the way to suspension, damping and supplying the systems with energy, this opens up multiple opportunities for efficient and scalable technologies.

Knorr-Bremse says this presents the company with a unique chance to shape future systems for all-electric commercial vehicles.

Dr. Peter Laier, responsible for the commercial vehicle systems division at Knorr-Bremse comments: “For us the electrification of commercial vehicles is one of the major trends of the commercial vehicle industry in which we intend to participate. In order to drive forward solutions in this area, Knorr-Bremse has set up its own development unit, the eCubator, separate from our conventional development operations, with some 60 in-house and external specialists.

“The aim of the eCubator is to adapt our existing product portfolio to the mobility requirements of electric drive systems and, at the same time, to identify and generate growth opportunities for Knorr-Bremse in the wider field of electric mobility. The underlying goal is to support our customers with the electrification of their commercial vehicles.”

The new eCubator development unit with its international and interdisciplinary approach provides a space where, through unconventional approaches, innovative, intelligent solutions for electric commercial vehicles can be identified and then developed in close collaboration with customers, technology partners and start-ups.

Knorr-Bremse says it is currently engaged in talks with potential business partners. The company is already working on numerous different projects that will be complemented in the coming months by additional ideas for new products.

The firm has already developed many products for first-generation electric commercial vehicles and brought some of these products to market. The portfolio includes screw-type compressors, for example, primarily for electric buses and trucks.

Knorr-Bremse states it has channeled its experience with brake blending, involving interplay of the service brake, the retarder and an additional exhaust brake, into brake blending solutions for EVs. Here, the braking effect of the electric motor is combined with the service brake to generate not only optimal deceleration but also maximum energy recovery. This leads to an improvement in vehicle efficiency while at the same time ensuring maximum stability – even in adverse conditions.

With a view to second-generation EVs, which will enter the market from approximately 2025 onwards, Knorr-Bremse is working on solutions including future energy management systems, electromechanical actuators and enhanced functionalities related to vehicle stability and propulsion.