Knorr-Bremse bundles e-mobility expertise into new eCubator division

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 08 Feb 2021


Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking systems and a leading supplier of other rail and commercial vehicle systems, has taken the next step towards the age of electric mobility by bundling its expertise in the field of e-mobility within the eCubator, its own new development unit. Plans envision as many as 60 in-house and external specialists working on innovative future-oriented solutions at Knorr-Bremse’s Munich and Budapest locations.

The electrification of commercial vehicles and the accompanying gradual substitution of the internal combustion engine require changes in vehicle architecture. As a result, the advent of electric mobility is set to fundamentally transform commercial vehicle system requirements. From traction, braking and steering, all the way to suspension, damping and supplying the systems with energy, this opens up multiple opportunities for efficient and scalable technologies.

Knorr-Bremse says this presents a unique chance to shape future systems for all-electric commercial vehicles. Knorr-Bremse not only has the necessary expertise to integrate new technologies into state-of-the-art systems that offer maximum customer benefits but already manufactures products for first-generation electric commercial vehicles, and this will help its customers bring their products to market fast.

To prepare Knorr-Bremse for the next generation of electric vehicles (EVs), the eCubator – an agile think tank for future EV system integration – is starting work. This newly created development unit is marked by an agile working environment, cross-functional teams and flat hierarchies. It bundles the company’s technical experience and interdisciplinary expertise, and provides a space in which to think outside the box.

An innovative approach
“For us the electrification of commercial vehicles is one of the major trends of the commercial vehicle industry in which we intend to participate,” says Dr. Peter Laier, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division. “In order to drive forward solutions in this area, Knorr-Bremse has set up its own development unit, the eCubator, separate from our conventional development operations, with some 60 in-house and external specialists. The aim of the eCubator is to adapt our existing product portfolio to the mobility requirements of electric drive systems and, at the same time, to identify and generate growth opportunities for Knorr-Bremse in the wider field of electric mobility. The underlying goal is to support our customers with the electrification of their commercial vehicles.”

Based at external locations in Munich and Budapest, the new development unit with its international and interdisciplinary approach provides a space where, through unconventional approaches, innovative, intelligent solutions for electric commercial vehicles can be identified and then developed in close collaboration with customers, technology partners and start-ups. Knorr-Bremse is currently engaged in talks with potential business partners. The company is already working on numerous different projects that will be complemented in the coming months by additional ideas for new products.