Innovation Motion everywhere

Enthusiasm for innovative products and processes and the uncompromising pursuit of quality have made ZF a global leader in driveline and chassis technology.

To what extent has the world changed over the past 25 years? Not that much, one might think. And yet, so much is different today - faster in particular: People and goods are virtually always on the move nowadays. With this momentum continuing, the demand for mobility solutions is also increasing for the transport of passengers and goods. ZF has already been developing trendsetting answers for a sustainable future pursuing ambitious targets: enhancing mobility, increasing efficiency, and conserving resources.


E-mobility and lightweight design

With its innovation prototype, ZF made a smart combination of advanced electromobility and lightweight approaches. An electric drive module located in the middle of the front axle is essential for the thrust of this subcompact car study.

The electric motor excels with 90 kW power and already provides more than sufficient power even at low speeds. This makes it the perfect match even for larger compact car class vehicles. Thus, the acceleration of the ZF innovation prototype is similar to that of cars with powerful combustion engines.

In order to maximize battery life meaning that the electric car consumes as little power as possible and achieves high ranges, ZF considerably decreased the vehicle weight.

Lightweight design for the chassis Instead of the conventional steel solution, numerous chassis components in the innovation prototype are made from alternative, weight-saving high-tech materials: The suspension strut and knuckle module at the front axle, for example, is made from fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP). There, a self-aligning support with hybrid design transfers all longitudinal and lateral forces; it is manufactured from carbon fiber (CRP), polyamide, and high-strength steel. At the rear, an innovative twist-beam axle reduces weight, even more, as it works together with fiber-reinforced composite stabilizers and lightweight dampers from ZF. The advanced ZF components can achieve high weight savings whether in cars with electric drive or combustion engine.

Video: Electric drive meets lightweight design

Driving pleasure coupled with zero emissions: ZF combines e-mobility and lightweight construction.


The ZF Innovation Truck has a whole set of advanced transmission, steering, and telematics systems on board. Thanks to their networking abilities, the ZF Innovation Truck can be maneuvered into the desired position remotely via a tablet app – easily, quickly, precisely, and with zero local emissions thanks to the hybrid drive.

Various different ZF technologies empower these functionalities. At the input end, the new automatic transmission system TraXon for heavy truck applications comes into play. The ZF-TraXon hybrid variant enables all hybrid functionalities up to purely electric maneuvering. The modified commercial vehicle superimposed steering system Servotwin performs steering maneuvers with no driver intervention at the steering wheel. The Openmatics telematics application - consists of an onboard or connectivity unit, sensor technology for data recording, and special software - supplies and processes data for the steering controls. A prototype control unit at the heart of the maneuvering assistant is in charge of automatically regulating the steering wheel angle and travel speed.

The customized maneuvering assistant simplifies both the daily work of truck drivers and logistics processes at depots. Using a special tablet app, drivers and schedulers are enabled to move the tractor-trailer to the exact position required, intuitively - with only one finger!

Connected Drive: Harnessing Complexity

A vehicle that is able to learn and anticipate what the driver wants to do or what will happen next to the vehicle – assisted driving has become reality in numerous volume production vehicles. We can already see the next step towards automated driving and even autonomous driving. In this field, ZF can apply its broad spectrum of expertise – ranging from mechanics and electronic control to sensors and software. New predictive and adaptive systems in driveline and chassis technology and their connectivity, in particular the connection of the vehicle with its environment and other traffic participants will also further enhance safety, driving dynamics, and efficiency.

Find out more about connected drive and read a commentary by Dr. Harald Naunheimer, Head of Research and Development at ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

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