Continental develops bearing elements for electric vehicles (EVs) from leading manufacturers
Special elastomer compounds for electric vehicles absorb vibrations in the high-frequency range.
Continental AG

Continental develops bearing elements for electric vehicles (EVs) from leading manufacturers

Engine mounts lead to more ride comfort, better driving experience, and greater safety.

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November 11, 2021

Electric vehicles are increasingly common on roads with the quiet cars with their batteries becoming a symbol of climate change mitigation and environmental protection. According to experts, 150 million electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles will be on the road worldwide by 2030, 30 times more than today. Batteries are becoming lighter and more powerful, and the ranges are getting higher. Tech company Continental is collaborating with innovative manufacturers of electric vehicles in a variety of fields in Europe, the USA, and China. The result is bearing elements made of rubber for cars, vans, buses, and trucks.

Solutions for electric vehicles
There are significant differences between electric motors and combustion engines affecting the components located close to the drive and engine.
“The requirements for engine bearings are completely different in electric cars,” emphasizes Continental’s head of research and development for bearing elements Scott Bykowski.
Electric motors have excitations in the high-frequency range. Higher torques and lower temperature conditions characterize the electric motor compared with the combustion engine. The resulting phenomena can be felt and heard and are not always pleasant for people. In addition, the classic engine noises of the combustion engine are missing, which mask rolling and wind noises.
“These factors impact the development of the compounds of rubber components, but also on the engine mount in general,” says Bykowski.
Continental developed lightweight elastomer compounds for electric vehicles. They absorb the vibrations in the high-frequency range. The lower weight reduces the energy consumption in the electric vehicle and increases the range. Continental is adapting other bearing elements such as battery mounts for buses or air press bearings in truck driver’s cabs to the requirements of e-mobility.

Collaboration on equal footing
The successful collaboration with manufacturers often resulted from individual orders.
“We introduced our expertise and our broad product portfolio to the customers. Then it quickly became clear that we were to manufacture more than just one component,” explains Bykowski.
In one case individual vibration absorbers became entire engine mounts. Collaboration with pioneers in e-mobility calls for faster prototyping and shorter delivery dates.
“Here our many years of diverse experience help us. We were able to keep up with the fast processes without any problems and quickly offer solutions. Our development expertise in design using simulation methods such as CAD and FEA is particularly helpful,” says Bykowski.
The global network of production locations means the distances are short. Engine mounts are produced for a partner at Continental’s Changshu location and tested directly within the high-frequency range needed.

Advantage in ride comfort
The engine mounts benefit drivers and passengers insulating and damping vibrations and noise for more ride comfort, better driving experience, and greater safety.
“We devise and design each subcomponent with optimal materials so that all components are perfectly matched to one another. This reduces disturbing noises and vibrations to a minimum,” says Bykowski.