FRANKFURT, Germany – The BRAKE Report recently had an opportunity to speak with two engineers at Continental — Sebastian Amrioui, Head of Advanced Products Hydraulic Brake Systems, and Dr. Mathias Haag, Technical Project Manager e-Caliper / Senior Expert Brake Function – about the future of braking systems and impact on braking suppliers in a rapidly changing automotive world. This article on electrification’s impact is the first in a series of posts TBR will present from this interview.

The move towards electrification of the automotive industry is creating new challenges for every company involved in engineering and designing braking systems. One major factor is a reduced reliance on friction brakes thanks to regenerative braking produced by an electric vehicle’s (EV) motor, but still supplying adequate stopping power when the situation demands it.

“We see with electrification, the engine taking over many (braking) iterations in the vehicle with the engine’s capability of recuperation (regenerative braking),” said Amrioui. “So, in comparison with an internal combustion (ICE), we have 90-percent less brake applications.

“So, this leads to less wear on the parts, but also to a very high risk of corrosion. But we still must provide maximum (braking) performance and brake force in case the driver has to make an emergency stop.”

Suppliers like Continental must face the challenge of designing a braking system that produces fewer braking applications than a comparable ICE vehicle yet must be ready for maximum stopping power in case of emergency (often in a vehicle heavier than the comparable ICE vehicle) to remain relevant.

“The vehicle classes are not so simple as in the past,” explained Dr. Haag. “It is not a standard vehicle and a performance vehicle coming from one platform (as has often been the case up to now). In the future the same platform will have a small city car, a high-speed performer and an autonomous people mover. With so many vehicles coming off the same platform, that gives additional challenges to the braking systems. This means we have to be flexible with the brake system.”

Electrification has already produced very high-performance vehicles, vehicles with 900, 1,000 horsepower, all capable of rapid acceleration and high speeds.

“When we really look at the top level of vehicles, high power, high weight, performance is still a focal point,” said Amrioui. “We need to increase the dimensions of the brakes, to be able to fulfill all the requirements to cover the high performance, the high engine power and also the high weight of the heavy vehicles with a big battery.

“The Tesla Model S or a Porsche Taycan or similar vehicles will be equipped with very big disc brakes to cover all the high capacity that is needed.”

But as electrification expands, the future of braking when considering everyday vehicles will be less and less reliance on friction brakes for stopping power.

“I think the trend is quite clear,” said Amrioui “You will have the scenario that recuperation is available, and the friction brake is only needed as an emergency brake. So, the friction brake will remain on the vehicles; it’s not possible to remove them, but it’s no longer the workhorse of the deceleration. What is the standard deceleration during normal drive this will be covered by the electric engine.”