The automotive industry in NRW
North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the key centers of the German automotive industry. A broad spectrum of automotive enterprises operate in NRW – from internationally active corporations operating in conventional vehicle construction through a predominantly medium-sized supplier industry to innovative topics in the field of electromobility to automated and connected driving. 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 8,000 "Street Scooters" for its day-to-day parcel and mail delivery operations.
Automotive enterprises in NRW
Is there a motorist who does not want a car that is eco-friendly, saves money and fuel, but still affords driving pleasure? To satisfy this desire "SuperLIGHT-CAR" (SLC) has come up with the lightest car body in the world. The Institut für Kraftfahrzeuge (ika) of the RWTH Aachen University is working in a big way on the development of a new lightweight design within the framework of a joint European research project.
The pioneering multi-material concept is based on the optimal combination of specially chosen materials such as aluminium, steel, magnesium and fibre-reinforced plastics. ika has created a simulation model suited to run all the relevant tests for this. They have, in fact, surpassed the target of a 30 percent reduction in weight. The car is now 35 percent, i.e. 180 kg lighter than the reference vehicle, a VW Golf V. The SuperLIGHT-CAR concept is not only a trend setting one with regard to conventional drives but is also geared to supporting electric cars.