Schaeffler introduces new wheel-integrated electric motor system

Schaeffler supplies first customers with new all-electric wheel hub motors

Schaeffler, the German company dedicated to producing and developing components for the automotive industry and mechanical engineering, has unveiled an innovative new solution: a new wheel-integrated electric motor system, which it has already started to supply to its first customers. It is a new innovation that follows others from the company such as the chainless electric drive system for bicycles.

The most important feature of these new wheel hub motors is that all the components required for propulsion and braking are integrated directly into the wheel rim, rather than being placed in the hub or mounted on the drive axles. This architecture saves space and makes the vehicles much more agile, especially those dedicated to performing municipal services.

Schaeffler’s all-electric wheel hub motors have a unique architecture in which the electric motor (stator and rotor), gearbox and mechanical friction brake are arranged around the wheel bearing inside the wheel rim, thereby freeing up space in other parts of the vehicle, for example for the battery or charge storage. Schaeffler develops wheel hub motors for electrical voltages of 48 and 400 V.


The wheel hub motor, including the gearbox, is very compact and fits inside a 14-inch wheel rim. The inverter is not integrated and can be accommodated anywhere in the vehicle. A single inverter controls one or two wheel hub motors, depending on the usage scenario.

Due to the cooling requirements associated with high power, the wheel hub motors are equipped with a liquid cooling system. Heat exchange with the outside air takes place via one or more coolers that are housed separately in the vehicle.

The motor output is scalable, depending on the application, ranging from 7 kW to 26 kW nominal, reaching a maximum of 60 kW for short periods, with a maximum torque of 1,650 Nm. The torque generated by the electric motor is transmitted via the gearbox directly to the wheel. This direct transmission reduces energy loss, making the drive very efficient. Another key benefit is that torque and direction of rotation are controlled individually for each wheel.

Three customers are the first to integrate this solution into their municipal utility vehicles, from sweepers to compact vans and snow ploughs. Schaeffler Automotive Technologies CEO Matthias Zink said: “Schaeffler is reinventing the propulsion systems used in small and light electric utility vehicles in our inner cities.


One such customer is Jungo, with whom Schaeffler has partnered to adapt the drive technology to the specific daily requirements of commercial street sweeping. Jungo founder and CEO Nicolas Jungo added: “The in-wheel electric motors and braking technology eliminate the need for oil changes and greatly improve the performance of our vehicles in terms of efficiency, power-to-weight ratio, safety, handling and braking reliability.”

The company aims to see its wheel hub engines increasingly used in utility and service vehicles in towns and cities, on factory campuses and in logistics centres, ports, airports and large car parks. Another key benefit for vehicle operators is that wheel hub motors offer longer life and less maintenance. Schaeffler plans to start series production of its wheel hub motors as early as 2023.

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