When looking at the many future automotive technologies that regularly get reported in the news, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in exciting new concepts with long complex names. Taking a step back from the new, however, Continental have recently redesigned the wheel.
Named the ‘New Wheel Concept’ this innovative wheel has been designed specifically for a future that’ll see the rise of the electric vehicle; optimising the braking system, increasing electric efficiency and bringing a fundamental element of cars, that we often take for granted, into the technology age.
Kept lightweight due to its aluminium construction, the New Wheel Concept is based upon a new division between wheel and axle and is made up of two separate parts: an aluminium carrier star that is always bolted to the wheel hub and a rim well that is bolted to the star. Unlike a conventional wheel, the brake is fastened to the wheel carrier of the axle, subsequently braking from the inside of the larger brake disc.
The advantage of using the caliper on the inside of the brake disc is the ability to use a larger brake disc and the need for less braking force due to the angles involved. As such, testing of the concept found that lower clamping forces were required to provide a high level of braking efficiency – prolonging brake pad life and optimising braking efficiency.
After initial testing, Continental actually claim that these lower clamping forces will also mean that the brake disc itself will never be subject to wear; this fact teamed with the none-rusting aluminium design would then ultimately mean that the brake disc would last the entire life of the car.
Continental also say that this futuristic design will increase not only braking efficiency but will also harness as much energy as possible when it comes to regenerative braking (braking using the electric motor to regain electric charge). This ultimately translates as a longer possible range on each battery of charge – something that is often a concern when it comes to electric vehicles.
Demonstrated live at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the New Wheel Concept is yet another exciting development in an automotive future that is filled with innovative technologies set to make motoring not only cleaner for the environment and safer for road users but also cheaper when it comes to the running and maintenance of vehicles.