Schaeffler identifies the excellent maneuverability of the vehicle with maximum comfort for any passengers as one of the advantages of the Mover with its wheel hub drive . The components are brought together in a compact assembly: the so-called Intelligent Corner Module is fitted to all four wheels. As these can be turned in by up to 90 degrees, the vehicle should be able to steer through narrow lanes and into small parking spaces, and even turn on the spot. Each of the four electric motors delivers a continuous output of 13 kW at 300 V operating voltage and a peak output of 25 kW for a limited time.
The Schaeffler Mover, which is designed for networked operation, is still at the stage of the feasibility study. A prototype that is ready to go should be completed this year, however. In theory, the network connection has already been tested – by means of a digital twin of the vehicle in the cloud. This makes preventive maintenance possible, as the data created can be evaluated continuously.
Numerous other companies are currently working on new wheel and tire concepts. Michelin , for example, is researching into a tire with no air (which, strictly speaking, cannot be called a tire). Instead it consists of a honeycomb-like structure, which is extremely robust and is made of organic materials. Meanwhile, Continental invested around EUR 35 million in a research and test laboratory for Taraxagum in 2017. The German name makes the origin of the material clearer: Löwenzahn Kautschuk (“dandelion rubber”).