E-Mobility ZF-Solutions for Electric Drives

E-mobility minimizes the emission of pollutants. ZF offers various solutions for this purpose – from hybrids to plug-ins and purely electric drives.

In 2008, ZF inaugurated its first industrial production facility for electric motors to be used in hybrid electric vehicles. Today, the company offers electric drive components for almost every manufacturer concept.

The objective of low-emission driving through to local zero-emission driving can be achieved in different ways.

1st option: Hybrid vehicles

Hybrid vehicles also have a conventional combustion engine which is supported by at least one electric motor. This significantly reduces fuel consumption and local pollutant emissions. There are three types: If the vehicle is equipped with a micro hybrid for the automatic start/stop system, the electric motor does not assume any drive tasks but it is able to switch off the combustion engine when the vehicle is stationary and obtain power from the braking energy (recuperation). On mild hybrid vehicles, the gasoline or diesel engine is given electric support when driving (boosting). Only the full hybrid version is able to drive completely electrically. Plug-in hybrids can also be charged at the mains. In purely electric mode, these vehicles can travel at maximum speeds of 120 km/h and with a maximum range of 50 kilometers. The combustion engine takes over afterwards.

2nd option: Electric vehicles

Pure electric vehicles do not have a combustion engine. The energy for the motor is generated from a battery or a fuel cell. These vehicles do not cause any emissions and, in terms of the drive, are almost noise and vibration-free.

ZF offers complete solutions for both methods

Offering complete systems from a single source has always been a strength of ZF from a customer's point of view and this applies more than ever in times of e-mobility. Since the modular, electric rear axle concept boasts an electric drive which is fully integrated into an axle system, the power electronics themselves are already integrated in the drive. The electrically driven twist beam axle, eTB, also offers drive and chassis integration: Two electric motors, each with an output of 40 kilowatt which are close to the wheel are integrated in the rear axle. The so-called torque vectoring allows the two motors to distribute the torque directly to individual wheels. Furthermore, the concept saves valuable installation space which provides manufacturers with a great deal of additional design leeway in the center of the vehicle.

Electric Drive

The electric rear drive system is an ideal solution for subcompact and compact cars. The motor, the single-speed transmission complete with differential, housing, and cooling unit, as well as the power electronics complete with control software form a unit in the award-winning concept. Cost-intensive plugs and cables are omitted as a result. Furthermore: As an asynchronous motor, the electric motor does not require any rare earth elements such as neodymium or dysprosium. Thanks to the high speed concept, the system achieves an output of up to 150 kW.

ZF also offers powerful and flexible electric solutions for other vehicles such as buses. The Group is the market leader in terms of electric axle drives. With the AVE 130 electric portal axle, it is irrelevant whether the vehicle is a hybrid or pure electric bus and whether the power comes from a battery, fuel cell, or the overhead line. The AVE 130 with its two water-cooled asynchronous motors on each wheel can be deployed as a driven axle in all of these buses. And that with an output of 125 kW on each wheel. With so much electric power, ZF enables even fully-loaded buses to effortlessly set off.

Flexible solutions: how the AVE 130 low-floor portal axle for city buses works

Altogether, ZF has developed a range of electrified transmissions and electric drives designed for various requirements.

These 6 e-mobility features make driving more eco-friendly and save money:

1. Start/Stop

Switching off the combustion engine whenever it is not required reduces consumption. This is primarily the case when the vehicle is stationary. Consequently, start/stop systems are now even integrated in vehicles without a hybrid drive.

2. Recuperation

When the vehicle decelerates, the electric motor is used as a generator to convert the braking energy into electric energy and to charge the battery.

3. Boosting

The electric motor supports the combustion engine when full power is required in the hybrid vehicle. Advantage: For this reason, the combustion engine can already be designed to be smaller and more fuel-efficient in hybrid vehicles – keyword: downsizing.

4. Electric driving

As soon as electric motors drive the passenger car independently, no more emissions are caused locally while driving – and hardly any noise is generated either. These are huge advantages, not least in inner city areas where strict access restrictions for vehicles with conventional drives are becoming more and more common.

5. Electric maneuvering

Combustion engine vehicles consume a lot of fuel when starting from a standstill or maneuvering at walking speed. The vehicles use considerably less fuel when the electric motor assumes this task.

6. Cruising

In driving situations requiring little power input, such as when driving at constant speed or slightly downhill, the combustion engine is switched off and the electric motor takes over vehicle propulsion if required.

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