Additive manufacturing or 3D printing as we know it, makes producing complicated components a lot easier compared to the traditional casting process. All you need are some good 3D modeling artists and the rest are taken care of by computers and printers. Porsche wants to take advantage of this technology even more and has produced its first housing for an electric drive.
The housing, printed from aluminium alloy powder, houses the motor and a 2-speed gearbox. Porsche says that the 3D printing process reduces the overall weight of the drive system by approximately 10%, thanks to the housing itself being lighter by approximately 40%. Despite the housing having a continuous wall thickness of only 1.5 mm, Porsche claims increased stiffness, thanks to those lattice structures. The honeycomb structure reduces the vibrations and thus significantly improves the overall acoustics of the drive. If you remember, Porsche had used a similar lattice structure in a concept seat that was revealed earlier this year.
Now, the all-important question is of course, what are the applications of this drive system? Well, Porsche says that it “could be used in a limited-edition super sports car, for example.” This particular unit is “designed for use on the front axle of a sports car,” the company said.
Our goal was to develop an electric drive with the potential for additive manufacturing, at the same time integrating as many functions and parts as possible in the drive housing, saving weight and optimizing the structure. – Falk Heilfort, Project Manager at the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach