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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class


The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor


Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.

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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 


Schaeffler’s Step2 concept competes at Silvretta e-rally

Schaeffler was represented by an electric vehicle in the E-Car Rally in Montafon, Austria, which was held for the fifth time from July 3-5, 2014. After previously entering with a prototype electric axle (2012) and the Fiesta E-Wheel Drive with an electric wheel hub drive (2013), the team – led by Uwe Wagner, vice president of R&D automotive at Schaeffler – competed in 2014 with the Schaeffler Step2, an all-electric vehicle with a drive from Schaeffler subsidiary IDAM and a 2-speed powershift transmission.

The E-Car Rally, held on the roads of Montafon and Vorarlberg, was not decided by the highest vehicle speed, but by the highest level of efficiency. Efficiency is also the driving force for combining an electric drive with a transmission. “With a 2-speed gearshift system, a low ratio for high tractive force and a high ratio for good overall efficiency at high driving speeds, we offer higher dynamics while, at the same time, achieving a longer range of electric operation,“ says Wagner.

In simulations and test drives, the Step2 concept vehicle has already achieved a significant reduction in consumption (energy withdrawn from the battery) of around 6%, compared to a comparable vehicle with only one gear. Step2 is based on a volume-produced compact car. Schaeffler engineers removed the internal combustion engine, the manual 6-speed transmission and the fuel tank. The front axle was also modified – the wheels, brake system and steering system were left in original condition. The electric motor was supplied by the Schaeffler subsidiary IDAM, a specialist in direct-drive technology. The Step2 is driven by an electric motor, which can be coupled with two ratios via a transmission. The transmission comprises a planetary gear set, wet multidisc clutch, band brake and a lightweight differential. The first and second gear ratios are produced in the transmission by alternately closing the brake and clutch. The vehicle battery is located in place of the fuel tank and exhaust gas system, below the passenger cell. The Schaeffler Step2 has a system output of up to 70kW (peak) and 50kW in continuous operation.

Schaeffler’s engineers also gathered data under alpine driving conditions during the event’s three alpine stages, and demonstrated (in a field of largely standard electric cars) that the use of a transmission leads to even greater efficiency savings in terms of kilowatts, volts and amperes.

30 July 2014


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