Control freak

Dynamics in even the largest vehicles is being improved by the use of 48V networks but it is the control and management of these systems that defines whether or not they are a success

Electrification isn’t just having an impact onpowertrains and the constant drive for efficiency. New, lower-voltage systems are also helping to improve ride and handling.

The development of 48V electronic/electric architectures is allowing engineers to make even the largest vehicles as dynamic as smaller cars.

Chassis systems can benefit from higher-voltage systems because they allow more powerful damping technologies to be used, something that simply wasn’t possible with a traditional 12V network.

Tier One supplier Schaeffler has developed an electromechanical active roll control system that is now being used in production vehicles.

The system comprises a gearbox, control motor with an electronic system, and an integrated torque sensor. The control motor with its high-ratio, three-stage planetary gearbox rotates the two halves of the roll control in opposite directions and generates torque, which has a stabilising effect on the vehicle body.

While the system was designed and developed by Schaeffler, the electronic control unit, the engine control system and software platform that the chassis technology is reliant on were provided by Conti.

The active roll control system has been used not only in the Bentley Bentayga luxury SUV but also in the Audi SQ7 high-performance SUV.

Both vehicles are large – the Bentayga weighs 2,440kg and is 5,140mm long, while the SQ7 is 2,345kg and 5,069mm respectively – which means that dynamic ability could be compromised with traditional hydraulic chassis systems, with excessive body roll.

The technology adapts the chassis to the driving situation, helping to absorb irregularities in the road surface, minimising the vehicle’s rolling motion. This increases comfort, safety, and driving dynamics.

Challenges ahead

One further benefit is that the system can also help to reduce fuel consumption and emissions compared to the use of hydraulic systems.

tags: June 2016 Schaeffler Hybrids & EVs