Continental, the European makers of tyres and other components has come up with a new design for disc brakes. Their developments have been based on electric vehicle usage – which is the current focal point of the industry.
Regular disc brakes are typically made of steel and are quite heavy. On high performance vehicles there could be lightweight rotors (discs) or even carbon ceramic to help save weight. Couple this with heavy callipers, it becomes a major weight component of any car.
Today you will see the brake disc mounted like the old drum brakes on the wheel hub with the actual wheel effectively bolted around it. This design has been in use for over 70 years so it is due for an evolution!
What Continental have done is to apply the concept of a perimeter disc brake to a vehicle. This means that the disc (made of aluminium) is mounted to the wheel itself and the calliper is mounted on the hub and grips the inside of the disc rather than the traditional outside.
The design means that the whole braking system is much lighter than a traditional one and for an electric vehicle, that means even better performance as the overall weight of the vehicle is reduced.
In one re-redesign, Continental has signalled a major evolution for car design because without the larger heavy discs, designers can now consider that space to be useful for other equipment (especially at the rear). It also harks back to the birth of the auto industry where many companies evolved from bicycles to motorcycles to cars taking with them the ideas and technology of each evolution.