Auto parts supplier Continental has developed its first air suspension system for an EV, the company announced this week.
“The air suspension system we developed had to meet strict electric driving requirements but without neglecting aspects like comfort, range and driving pleasure,” said Continental’s Christian Hilgers. In order to deliver low weight and low energy consumption with at least the same functionality as in other projects, Continental developed a closed air supply system with a high-performance compressor and solenoid valve block.
“The closed air supply system pumps the air at high pressure back and forth in a circuit between the reservoir and the air springs,” explained Christian Steinmann. “This allows a virtually unlimited number of rapid, consecutive changes in pressure levels.” Changes to ride height are made automatically by the control electronics, depending on the vehicle’s speed, or by the driver at the touch of a button.
Continental’s integrated system is lighter than steel springs, and the option of lowering vehicle height leads to lower air resistance, reducing energy consumption still further.
Continental has not revealed the model using its new system, saying only that the first delivery was made in spring 2012 to “a manufacturer of electric vehicles.”