A new wheel bearing from German supplier Schaeffler could lead to efficiency improvements in battery-electric vehicles.
The supplier's new TriFinity design differs from standard two-row ball bearings or two-row tapered wheel bearings on the market today by generating less friction, said Michael Eastman, regional head of Schaeffler's wheel bearings business unit. This is done through a unique, three-row ball bearing design that is no larger than a standard two-row bearing but can transfer bigger axle loads, last longer and have less friction, according Schaeffler.
"The concept was initially focused on trying to improve capacity density," Eastman told Automotive News.
"The initial concept wasn't developed with BEVs in mind," he said. But "the TriFinity bearing was really optimized around the idea that we need to do more on the friction side to benefit these larger electric vehicles. There's a ton of hype around electric pickups in the North American market, and that was really where our focus was."
The innovation comes as suppliers and automakers look for ideas to increase BEV efficiency and address range anxiety, a potential hurdle to wider EV adoption.