Making mobility affordable and sustainable
The e-mobility transition presents challenges and opportunities. The challenge facing us all: make personal mobility affordable and sustainable. The opportunities differ from brand to brand.
The current generation of electric vehicles (EV)s has played to the strengths of established brands. Premium EVs that offer range, space, connectivity, and luxury options for early adopters commanding the premium needed to offset substantial platform investments.
The next wave of new mobility manufacturers is leveraging a different competitive set. “Disruptor” EV brands wield a fast-moving battery and electronics eco-system; yet expertise and resources in core traditional systems, such as wheels – a safety component – can be limited. Yet, all modes of transportation need wheels to move people and goods from point A to point B.
Disruptor EV brands are entering developing and developed markets at a time when more consumers are ready for change and regulations start to force decisions. The disruptors see an opportunity to offer improved affordability with agile go-to-market strategies yet lack experience to navigate the widely diverse and fragmented market, driving the need to partner with and leverage expertise found in the supply base.
EV EXPERTISE & SPEED
Innovative supplier partnerships that accelerate time-to-market and keep operations lean are needed. Maxion Wheels is a leading wheel supplier for electric car programs and last-mile fleets at the forefront of new mobility. Our renowned global team of wheel experts, connected to a network of state-of-the art engineering and testing centers and a vast innovation eco-system of start-ups, academia, and industry analysts, offer technical knowledge and advanced capabilities for EV brands to leverage.
As a technical lead to the Association of European Wheel Manufacturers (EUWA) and test partner to TÜV, the international voice on quality certification, Maxion Wheels’ work with start-ups and largest EV brands delivers rapid results for series production. Wheel designs that extend range, improve competitiveness, and free OEMs to focus on their own area of expertise are in high demand.
EV WHEEL CAPABILITIES THAT ADD RANGE
The most fundamental change in producing EVs is the extra mass that electric mobility adds. Electric vehicles are 25% heavier than gasoline predecessors, and with the battery packaged in the floor, plus higher torque and acceleration, the performance and durability requirements of the wheel requires specialized expertise.
“Automakers are counting every gram to extend the distance between charging stops,” says Ralf Duning, Global Engineering Vice President. “Our experts have the know-how to meet the demands that new mobility places on the wheels – as efficiently as possible.”
Efficiency is the reason EVs, and wheel designs, are prioritizing weight and aerodynamics.
“Automakers are counting every gram to extend the distance between charging stops. Our experts have the know-how to meet the demands that new mobility places on the wheels – as efficiently as possible.”
- Maxion Wheels’ proprietary Lightweighting Process is a holistic integration of key performance parameters, advanced structural simulation tools and production know-how. It makes the fine-tuning of design, mechanical properties, and mass an integral part of the development and manufacturing process.
The introduction of supercomputing at Maxion delivered a quantum leap in performance of the Lightweighting Process, scaling up the company’s topology optimization and simulation skills and processes. The supercomputing investments have enabled company engineers to assess thousands of designs to identify the highest performing solutions; especially effective at reducing the weight of popular large diameter aluminum wheels preferred for EVs.
- Maxion Wheels’ aerodynamic expertise includes its own in-house styling studio and digital lab resources including full vehicle computational fluid dynamic simulations, drag reduction studies for wheels, airflow velocity vectors by layers, and airflow vectors through the wheels and the vehicle’s fenders.
With battery range the overriding concern, flat aerodynamic surfaces that reduce drag lead the way. Current aerodynamic wheel solutions however increase complexity: plastic covers and inserts are screw-mounted or clipped onto alloy base wheels. Maxion Wheels, working closely with OEMs and wheel trim suppliers, is already integrating these efficiency and style features into wheel designs and production processes.
EV brands using aerodynamic wheel covers typically use a base aluminum wheel when steel provides a more sustainable alternative. And with notable customer interest in larger diameter aerodynamic steel wheels for electric SUVs and pick-up trucks, Maxion Wheels’ latest innovation, Maxion BIONIC, answers the demand for an affordable, stylish, and sustainable wheel solution.
STIFFER WHEELS FOR QUIETER ACOUSTICS
One of the more subtle effects of electrification is the change in acoustic characteristics. With no background engine noise to mask them, previously inaudible road and tire noises are now more noticeable. Vibrations from the brakes when crawling in traffic are among the most common causes of concerned calls to dealerships from new EV drivers.
Maxion Wheels’ in-depth understanding of the wheel and noise associated with it enable the company’s experts to tackle the challenge with a mix of experience and ingenuity. Increasing the wheel’s stiffness is one approach. For steel wheels, the company is patenting an innovative rim profile that increases both stiffness and noise damping in the critical 150-200Hz range. For aluminum wheels, advances in the Maxion Lightweighting Process make fine-tuning the design, mechanical properties, and mass an integral part of the development and manufacturing process.
FINDING AFFORDABLE, SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS TOGETHER
The development of sustainable wheel solutions is a priority for the auto industry with wheels accounting for up to four percent of a vehicle’s total CO2 footprint, and 75-85 percent of that from the raw material. The development of new sustainable materials and supply chains is an essential part of this transition.
Working with our customers, partners and suppliers, Maxion Wheels will continue to innovate to improve performance and reduce costs, developing new affordable solutions that serve the needs of today and tomorrow’s mobility players.