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DrEM Hybrid: Cologne-based company develops economical hybrid 4x4

Heike Fischer /TH Köln
DrEM Hybrid
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G just now Toyota has presented the new RAV4 Hybrid, Scientists from the Cologne neighborhood counter this with an exciting development: The TH Köln has developed an alternative hybrid drive that is supposed to work 25 percent more economically. Of course, the research team avoids naming the Japanese hybrid pioneer. But it is already clear from the press release who is meant. “So far, the so-called split hybrids have been equipped with very complex planetary gears as standard,” says PhD student Magnus Böh, who is involved in the project. 'The structure we have chosen for the drive with the DrEM is much simpler and could be produced in large numbers more cheaply.' The use of a planetary gear for power split is a specialty of Toyota's hybrid models.

Electric' machine 'replaces gearbox

With the acronym DrEM, the scientists working with project leader Prof. Dr. Andreas Lohner the heart of the development, the 'double rotating electrical machine'. It is connected between the engine and the front axle differential and thus replaces the conventional transmission. The idea behind this is to use the combustion engine in a plug-in hybrid environment with a large traction battery as a so-called range extender, which primarily generates electricity. In this way, the engine can be operated in the most economical speed range, which, according to the researchers, is between 2,000 and 3,400 revolutions for this model. In the current stage of development, the traction battery is designed for a purely electric route of around 25 kilometers.

All-wheel drive with electric motors

It was not disclosed which engine the team used, but the picture shows the three-cylinder Ecoboost gasoline engine from Ford, which is obviously installed in a Focus. All-wheel drive is an exciting part of the development work. Here the team relies on two electric motors mounted close to the wheel on the rear axle, which can be controlled individually /wheel by wheel. Not only can a differential lock be replaced, this design also speaks for high driving dynamics on the road.

The project development was carried out together with the companies Meta Motoren- und Energie-Technik and the Center for Concepts in Mechatronics (CCM) carried out. For further development is currentlyStill looking for partners from the industry or through a funding program to get the project on the road and ultimately to series production.


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