Knorr-Bremse announces it is bundling its expertise in the field of e-mobility within a brand new development unit named eCUBATOR. Company’s plans envision as many as 60 specialists working on innovative future-oriented solutions at Knorr-Bremse’s Munich and Budapest locations. The goal? To adapt the existing product portfolio to the mobility requirements of electric drive systems.

knorr-bremse ecubator

Knorr-Bremse and commercial vehicles’ electrification

The electrification of commercial vehicles is leading to a series of challenges for commercial vehicles OEMs and suppliers. From traction, braking and steering, all the way to suspension, damping and supplying the systems with energy, this opens up multiple opportunities for efficient and scalable technologies.

To prepare Knorr-Bremse for the next generation of electric vehicles (EVs), the eCUBATOR, defined by the group as «an agile think tank for future EV system integration», is starting work. This newly created development unit is marked by an agile working environment, cross-functional teams and flat hierarchies.

eCUBATOR: working on 2nd generation electric commercial vehicles

Based at external locations in Munich and Budapest, «the new development unit with its international and interdisciplinary approach provides a space where, through unconventional approaches, innovative, intelligent solutions for electric commercial vehicles can be identified and then developed in close collaboration with customers, technology partners and start-ups. Knorr-Bremse is currently engaged in talks with potential business partners. The company is already working on numerous different projects that will be complemented in the coming months by additional ideas for new products», Knorr-Bremse points out. And adds: «With a view to second-generation EVs, which will enter the market from approximately 2025 onwards, Knorr-Bremse is working on solutions including future energy management systems, electromechanical actuators and enhanced functionalities related to vehicle stability and propulsion».

Knorr-Bremse, a series of application for e-mobility

Knorr-Bremse has already developed many products for first-generation electric commercial vehicles and brought some of these products to market. The portfolio includes screw-type compressors, for example, primarily for electric buses and trucks. Knorr-Bremse is also strongly positioned in the field of brake control: The company has channeled its experience with brake blending, involving interplay of the service brake, the retarder and an additional exhaust brake, into brake blending solutions for EVs. Here, the braking effect of the electric motor is combined with the service brake to generate not only optimal deceleration but also maximum energy recovery. This leads to an improvement in vehicle efficiency while at the same time ensuring maximum stability – even in adverse conditions.

The German group is active in the electric commercial vehicles sector also through its subsidiary Kiepe Electric, which is working to support zero-emission public transportation, focusing on the development and installation of complete electrical systems, as well as on top performance and high quality. Among the solutions currently available is the trailblazing Kiepe Traction Inverter (KTI) that combines the power electronics for the traction system and for charging the battery in a single system. The KTI supports the Kiepe Fleet Management (KFM) system and the Smart Fleet Charging Management (SFM) energy management system. The company’s continuously upgraded In-Motion-Charging technology (IMC) for flexible trolleybus operation is already well established across the globe. 

Knorr-Bremse eCUBATOR

“For us the electrification of commercial vehicles is one of the major trends of the commercial vehicle industry in which we intend to participate,” says Dr. Peter Laier, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division. “In order to drive forward solutions in this area, Knorr-Bremse has set up its own development unit, the eCUBATOR, separate from our conventional development operations, with some 60 in-house and external specialists. The aim of the eCUBATOR is to adapt our existing product portfolio to the mobility requirements of electric drive systems and, at the same time, to identify and generate growth opportunities for Knorr-Bremse in the wider field of electric mobility. The underlying goal is to support our customers with the electrification of their commercial vehicles.”