Magnificent Movement Miracle

Producing the “Mover” concept vehicle, Schaeffler is showing how future urban mobility could look like. The shuttle is packed with new technologies and unusual solutions, major elements of which the chassis experts from TRE have also helped to develop. This could only be done because in many areas, the experts have entered unchartered territory.

The Schaeffler Mover can carry up to four persons at a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour – and, of course, by an electric drive system. This is not the only innovative technology the shuttle harbors. Although still controlled by joystick today, the Mover is ready for fully automated and driverless operation. The chassis, too, is anything but conventional. Featuring a completely new design of wheel suspension, the shuttle can park sideways, turn on the spot, and execute previously impossible accident avoidance maneuvers.

Schaeffler CES VDA PK 2909 16 9
Bernhard Mattes (Präsident des Verbands der Automobil-Industrie VDA) testet mit Aufsichtsrats-Chef Georg Schaeffler und TRE-Anteilseigner Nico Rosberg den Schaeffler Mover auf der CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

To develop and lay out the rolling chassis, Schaeffler brought the experts from TRE on board who have provided their entire expertise for the project. They had to produce a new and extremely compact chassis layout which also had to accommodate a large number of superstructures because in addition to a module for passenger transport, the Mover
can also be fitted with modules for parcel delivery services, various types of cargo and similar applications.

Intelligent wheel module with swiveling wheels

A particular challenge was the compact “Intelligent Corner Module” that integrates the wheel hub motor, brake, suspension, damping and steering. Four of these are installed in the vehicle and make the shuttle a real movement miracle. Each wheel can be turned by 45 degrees while driving and even by up to 90 degrees when parking, enabling the Mover to park sideways. “We had never even simulated anything like this before,” reports Eckardt Döhrer, Managing Director of TRE.

“For this maneuver, we had to allow for completely new effects on driving stability. Track width is suddenly very large whereas the wheelbase narrows down extremely. This has huge impacts on aspects such as vehicle pitch, which meant we had to make adjustments to suspension and damping.”

TRE GmbH Logo

TRE is one of the leading companies in the field of chassis development. TRE GmbH works for many well-known car manufacturers and contributes their experience in motorsport to series projects.

As part of the technology partnership with Schaeffler, TRE’s responsibilities included computation as well as multibody-simulation of the corner modules and the entire vehicle, while placing a particular emphasis on driving dynamics, safety and ride comfort. Alongside all this, the company also supplied parts for the wheel module’s hardware, these including many unusual cast components and complex wiring.

As there has never been a vehicle like this before, it made the project extremely challenging.

Eckardt Döhrer — Managing Director of TRE GmbH

“We rethought the entire chassis and had to find many new approaches, in terms of layout, for example. In addition, there were no references or benchmark systems – so we were constantly working out new ideas and thinking outside the box.”

Schaeffler presented the Mover for the first time at CES 2019 in Las Vegas and will also be showing the concept vehicle at the IAA Automobile Show at Frankfurt/Main in September. TRE shareholder Nico Rosberg was also present at the world premiere in the USA, saying the project had made “a little pipe dream” come true for him: “Our company has never been faced with such an exciting project”, says the former Formula 1 world champion.

The article was published in automotion 02/2019, the automotive engineering magazine of IAV. Here you can order the autmotion free of charge.