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Story 192 – 2018 – Innovation Business model Products

Tremendous performance from the socket

Wieland supplies the electric drive for a unique convertible

Wieland contributes the entire drive unit for a test vehicle of the car tuner Abt. It is designed for maximum efficiency in a limited space and – like the vehicle itself – goes to the limits of what is technologically feasible at present.

The car tuner Abt from Kempten, Germany is known to connoisseurs as a specialist who adds sporting value to Audi cars. Abt has also made a name for itself as a racing team in the German Touring Car Championship and the German Touring Car Masters. Less well known is the fact that the company, which was founded in 1896, has also been dealing with electric mobility for about ten years, with the aim of developing innovations for sporty, powerful cars with electric drive and implementing them in small series. This also includes building experimental vehicles to test and advance the possibilities of the electric drive. In 2018 Abt approached Wieland with a challenging task: the construction of a highly efficient asynchronous electric motor. It was to be installed in an Audi A3 Cabriolet as part of a funded project for the development of a battery with particularly high energy and power density, in which the Fraunhofer Institute was also involved. The particular challenge here was that the space for the battery and the battery management system was very limited due to the design of the vehicle.

The order for Wieland comprised the entire drive unit including drive shaft and water-cooled housing. The core elements were the copper rotor developed, built and patented by Wieland and the so-called Hairpin stator. For this technology, which is characterised by an elaborate winding and an innovative interconnection component, Wieland did set up a complex, interdepartmental process chain. In addition, Wieland developed its own production components and special tools in long series of tests. This was an ambitious project, also associated with many emotions for all those involved.

In addition to the highly efficient, powerful electric drive with 171 kW, the Audi A3 Cabriolet ABT eLine test vehicle, which was completed in 2019, has another special feature: unlike most electric vehicles, it has a modern double clutch transmission. It simulates a driving style familiar to the driver, with gearshifting just like in a car with a combustion engine, and it reduces the rotational speed of the electric motor and thus the high frequencies of the excitation current typical for asynchronous machines. The resulting so-called skin effect, i.e. a certain slippage with fluctuating speeds, can thus be avoided as far as possible.

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Components for electromobility

A lot of power – without exhaust: The compact and efficient drive unit from Wieland is directly flanged to a modern double clutch transmission.