Schaeffler unveils near-production Bio-Hybrid concept

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Bio-Hybrid, a part of the Schaeffler Group, has presented its near-production Bio-Hybrid vehicle at CES in Las Vegas. The vehicle has been showcased in two versions – Cargo and Passenger – and has a planned market launch date of 2020.

“Schaeffler presented the Bio-Hybrid product category as a vision for private transportation in urban areas as early as in 2016,” said Prof. Peter Gutzmer, deputy CEO and chief technology officer of Schaeffler.

“This vision is now turning into reality. At the end of 2017, we established Schaeffler Bio-Hybrid. As a spin-off, the fully owned subsidiary is able to operate with the flexibility of a startup and has the mission to develop the Bio-Hybrid to production level. The world premiere of the two near-production prototypes at CES marks the next step on the road to the planned market launch in 2020.”

“A central aim is to prevent the impending total gridlock in big cities and to make them more pedestrian-focused and livable,” explained Gerald Vollnhals, project manager at Schaeffler Bio-Hybrid.

“This can only be achieved by de-conflicting traffic by means of new, intelligent vehicle concepts. An approach like this requires vehicles that in a connected and systemically shared environment attain high flexibility while minimizing the need for space. This is exactly what the Bio-Hybrid offers.”

Based on the concept unveiled in 2016, the Bio-Hybrid has been continuously developed by the startup. The versions showcased at CES will be deployed in a test field in the middle of 2019.

In addition to the drive system, for example, the operating concept and the design were completely revised for this purpose. Concurrently, Schaeffler established a 10-member team, which is to double in size during 2019. Patrick Seidel, who is responsible for strategy and business development at Schaeffler Bio-Hybrid, emphasized, “In the next major step, we will continue to drive our marketing, sales and industrialization concept and are open to partnerships in this respect.”

The Cargo and Passenger versions share the same modular platform. Due to its four wheels, the concept offers impressive driving stability. Thanks to a roof and windshield, the vehicle can be used in any type of weather. Barely wider than a normal bicycle, the vehicle can be operated on bicycle paths as well with zero emissions.

In addition, the Bio-Hybrid only requires a third of the parking space of a small car and can be operated in most countries without a license and vehicle registration. The electric traction motor assists the operator up to a speed of 25km/h (15.5mph), producing 250–750W rated output power (depending on national laws and regulations).

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Matt joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he began editing Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International in 2016, and took over as editor of Tire Technology International in 2018.

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