Smart RAPA component for innovative Porsche chassis

On November 24, 2023, the sports car manufacturer Porsche presented the third model generation of the Porsche Panamera in Shanghai. This world premiere was a source of pride for RAPA Automotive, among others, as a key vehicle component is manufactured by the medium-sized supplier in Selb. This is the largest project in the long-standing business relationship between the two companies.

Porsche presented the innovative “Porsche Active Ride” chassis for the first time with the new generation of the Panamera luxury saloon. This is available as an option for the E-Hybrid models of the Panamera and will also be used in the recently presented new Taycan. The Zuffenhausen-based car manufacturer describes the fully active chassis on the occasion of the world launch with the following words: “This system outperforms other chassis concepts in all relevant parameters and offers a previously unattained range between ride comfort and driving dynamics.”

RAPA’s contribution to the new Porsche driving experience is the particularly high-performance, high-voltage capable motor-pump unit (MPE), optimized for use in hybrid vehicles and BEVs. This is the further development of the RAPA-MPE, which was installed in the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension from Mercedes-Benz after a seven-year development phase. It has been available as an option for the GLE and GLS premium SUVs and the S-Class luxury saloon since the start of series production in 2019. Mercedes-Benz presented RAPA with the Daimler Special Award for Innovation for the development of this component.

Parallel to the award-winning first generation, further development of the component for the needs of the future automotive market has already begun. RAPA’s aim was to optimize the wiring systems of the electrified future with voltage levels of 400 V for hybrids and 800 V for BEVs. It was also necessary to reduce the packaging and make the component more compact. The success is demonstrated by selected values: The high-voltage MPE has 40 % less mass than the previous generation, has been reduced in diameter and length by around 25 % and at the same time increased in terms of performance.

Thanks to the MPE as a core component, the new suspension can offer the full spectrum from taut performance to maximum comfort. With an increase in hydraulic power of up to 60% and electronic power of up to 35%, the unit has become even more dynamic and powerful than its predecessor, helping to create a new kind of driving experience.

A high-voltage MPE consists of two motor-pump units and a common electronics unit. The component is installed once per axle to control each wheel individually. Based on information from a central control unit, the MPEs can therefore regulate all dampers individually and at lightning speed, so that road excitations are almost completely compensated for. This precise control enables a particularly comfortable driving experience and increases safety with sporty driving performance thanks to the optimized road holding.

Dr. Roman Pausch, Managing Director of RAPA Automotive, describes the development result as follows: “The large number of technical optimizations not only enables the MPE to be fully integrated into high-voltage vehicle electrical systems, but also sets a new benchmark in the industry. We can proudly say that the high-voltage MPE from RAPA is the most powerful series system as a core component of fully active chassis in the premium car market.”

RAPA will continue to work actively on the further development of high-voltage MPEs in order to contribute to the overarching goal of autonomous driving. A key component in the realization of autonomous vehicles is the immobilization of the passenger compartment in order to prevent motion sickness among the occupants. This is the only way to make good use of travel time for other activities, such as reading or working. But it will be several years before this can be experienced by the broad masses of society. Until then, the MPE can be continuously perfected alongside other smart RAPA components and tailored to the intelligent product requirements of the future.

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About RAPA Automotive
RAPA Automotive is an internationally oriented medium-sized automotive supplier and a wholly owned subsidiary of the RAPA Group. The company specializes in the development and series production of precision components and highly complex systems for chassis, transmissions, comfort systems for convertible tops and luggage compartments as well as sensor cleaning solutions for driver assistance systems.

The products are used in cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles. The extensive product portfolio in the field of mechatronic chassis systems includes high-quality components for active suspension, controlled damping and stabilization systems such as level control and roll stabilization. These contribute significantly to the targeted optimization of performance-oriented driving characteristics and efficiency as well as to increasing driving comfort and safety.

Its most important customers include leading first-tier suppliers and renowned car manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Jaguar-Land Rover and Tesla. Within the Group, RAPA Automotive is the largest division with the highest turnover and accounts for 90% of sales. In 2023, RAPA generated a turnover of around 240 million euros. The division is managed by Dr. Roman Pausch and Karin Wolf. In addition to its headquarters in Selb, Bavaria, RAPA has branches in North America and China. Around 900 employees work in this division alone, and around 1,000 people work for RAPA worldwide.

RAPA Group
The RAPA Group is an established international engineering and technology partner and supplier to the automotive industry, the medical technology sector and the modern manufacturing industry. The company offers a comprehensive product portfolio that includes the customer-specific development and series production of valve components and fluid mechatronic systems. Individual valves, assemblies and complete systems are offered. In addition, the company provides smart services such as electronics and software to offer customers holistic integration solutions. As a driving force for innovation, RAPA always remains at the forefront of technological progress. The company plays a key role in shaping the challenges and requirements of the markets and plays an important role in the industry.

Three strong brands are united under the umbrella of the RAPA Group: RAPA Automotive, RAPA Healthcare and RAPA Industry. As a medium-sized group of companies, RAPA operates in a classic holding structure, with the parent company acting as a strategic management holding and coordinating the work of the three divisions. Dr. Roman Pausch manages the family business in dual leadership with Karin Wolf. The company generated sales of around 240 million euros in 2023. In addition to its headquarters in Selb, Bavaria, RAPA has subsidiaries in North America and China. The company currently employs around 1,000 people worldwide. In 2020, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary, underlining its many years of experience and expertise.