From combustion engine to future mobility

Introducing new materials, concepts and manufacturing processes for future automotive challenges, mobility concepts and business models already in the development processes

The mobility industry is undergoing tremendous change. The market is currently being driven by new players and is confronted with new requirements in terms of sustainability, recycling, environmental and climate protection. Furthermore, the international market is characterized by globally heterogeneous political conditions. In addition, current challenges are posed by uncertainties in the supply of raw materials.

Under these conditions, the industry is challenged to bring about a major change – away from the individual vehicle to individual and flexible mobility with new drive variants, autonomous driving, and vertical mobility. Fraunhofer IFAM is the partner for the necessary early development of products and production methods to identify market requirements and early development of market-relevant solutions. 

In the business segment mobility, Fraunhofer IFAM develops technologies, ideas, and solutions for use in the automotive value chain. The addressees here are manufacturers of passenger cars and commercial vehicles (OEMs) as well as their entire supply industry. In recent years, we have also been working increasingly with suppliers of novel, future-oriented mobility variants.

Both the production and operation of vehicles place high demands on energy and resource efficiency. New materials such as CFRP are increasingly finding their way into automobiles. Still relatively new shaping processes such as additive manufacturing meet "traditional" processes such as casting and lead to new combinations and manufacturing possibilities. Fraunhofer IFAM is using its expertise to develop new combinations of processes for the automotive industry.

Lightweight solutions are particularly in demand – not just because of the need to reduce CO2 and other emissions. In many cases, this leads to a combination of very different materials ("material mix") in the vehicle. This places new demands on manufacturing technology and recycling for a future circular economy of raw materials. In particular, the joining of (different) materials within a highly automated production process geared to high volumes is of great importance.

With hybrid and electric vehicles, new solutions with electric drives are coming into use. These face the challenges of energy efficiency, increased power and torque, cost reduction, and reliability. Fraunhofer IFAM has a comprehensive understanding of systems in the field of electromobility and offers the automotive industry technical solutions for the electrification and hybridization of the powertrain as well as new battery and mobility concepts.

With its broad portfolio of competencies, Fraunhofer IFAM offers the mobility industry various approaches to solutions such as:

  • Design, development and manufacturing of the electric powertrain
  • Battery development from cell chemistry to systems
  • Solutions in the field of hydrogen storage
  • Foundry- and powder-manufactured components, especially for complex and lightweight metallic parts
  • Components made of polymer materials (FVK)
  • Joining technologies, especially for new materials and for joining different materials
  • Process automation in manufacturing (bonding, machining, coating, surface functionalization, sensor technology)
  • Components for electric drives and their design
  • Personnel qualification in the field of adhesive bonding technology, fiber composite plastics and electromobility