The automotive industry in NRW
North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the key centers of the German automotive industry. A broad spectrum of auto enterprises operate in NRW – ranging from major globally operating carmakers to small and medium-sized component suppliers and electromobility specialists. These SMEs in particular are in a position to respond flexibly to changing market requirements and initiate new technical developments for cross-industry applications.
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Promoting new technology
The innovative strength of the automotive sector in NRW benefits from the close collaboration between industry and applied research establishments. The South Westphalian Automotive Center, for example, provides a platform for R&D activities, engineering services and knowledge transfer between automotive manufacturers, suppliers and university institutes. NRW has significant potential in the area of electromobility – thanks also to the three centers of competence in Aachen, Dortmund and Münster. Together with 80 technology partners, scientists at RWTH Aachen University have developed the innovative electrically powered "Street Scooter" with a range of 130 kilometers and a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour. Deutsche Post DHL has assumed responsibility for this project and is deploying around 3,400 "Street Scooters" for its day-to-day parcel and mail delivery operations.
Automotive enterprises in NRW
Region Ruhr Metropolis
Who would have thought that even a fuel filler door actuator could have a positive effect on energy consumption? Heavy electric motors that were once used can now be replaced by the so-called actuator systems from FG-INNOVATION. They are the lightest and most powerful drive elements in the world, bringing down weight by up to 95%. A reduction in the weight of an automobile lowers fuel consumption. Actuators made of intelligent materials, the so-called shape memory alloys (SMA) produced by this company from Bochum, also operate other mechatronic systems in vehicles, for example fuel filler doors or rear seats. When electrically heated an SMA actuator will deform, releasing an actuation mechanism that opens the fuel filler door. Upon cooling, this wire returns to its original state. FG-INNOVATION is a spin-off company founded by the RUB (Bochum University) and now part of the internationally established EGELHOF Group. The pioneering SMA technology finds application not only in automotive engineering but also in aeronautics and building technology.