Intelligent Rolling Chassis 1 basis, 1,000 possibilities
ZF’s ready-to-go IRC platform is the perfect key ingredient for versatile mobility recipes of the future. Further ingredients can be added to suit every customer´s individual taste.
Here is how the far-off future of urban mobility could look: Every morning, a driverless car-share vehicle takes your kids to school while you are being chauffeured to work – naturally in a self-driving electric rental car. You ordered a car equipped with benches facing one another and a table in between so you can conduct a meeting with a colleague while on the way to work. When you get out, you command your "Taxi" to fold away the table and seats. You then ask it to pick up an armchair from the furniture store and to wait with it in front of your apartment, in other words, to function as a mobile package station so that it can also store your neighbors' packages. For your trip home, you again reserve a car-share vehicle, but this time you select a convertible model with better performance and a classic manual steering wheel. After all, shouldn’t you have some fun behind the wheel once in a while, too?
We are probably closer to this vision of the future than you think. For example, ZF’s Intelligent Rolling Chassis (IRC for short), a flexible e-platform concept for urban transport vehicles is already here. The Rinspeed "Oasis" (see picture on top), a visionary concept study, ist the first operational vehicle based on this concept. Other well-established and new mobility providers could soon follow. With the IRC, all they have to do is add a battery system, car/vehicle body and interior in order to get their own, completely customized electric transport vehicle on four solid wheels out on the road.
Bringing intelligence to mechanical systems
All of the advanced mobility technology that ZF has infused in this chassis can be summed up on one word: “intelligence.” The rear is equipped with an Electric Twist Beam (eTB) axle which has been integrated into the drive via two compact, close-to-the-wheel electric motors. The front end features an innovative independent suspension system that works together with an electric ZF steering system, enabling steering angles of up to 75 degrees. This represents a 50 percent increase over the steering angles of traditional front axles on today’s market. Turning, parking and other maneuvers are now almost fun.
The applied art of networking
To enable the front wheels, which are almost perpendicular to the curb, to move off from a standstill, the controlling front end and the driving rear end must cooperate smartly. And they can do so with the help of the Torque Vectoring function which allows the forces of the electric motors to regulate the wheels individually to provide the necessary steering movement. The function itself is integrated into the IRC ECU (electronic control unit), the chassis’s central electronic brain which networks all system functions. It also contains all interfaces needed for the advanced assistance systems that support highly automated or autonomous driving
Even the bottom of the IRC frame is unusual in that it is completely flat. In the automotive industry, this type of flat-floor design is called a skateboard because it looks just like one. This means that the IRC can accommodate all of the interior functions and vehicle concepts that are described in the above future scenario, from the “Oasis” and convertibles to self-driving taxis and autonomous e-transport vehicles.
ZF IRC DATA SHEET (BASIC MODEL)
Highly flexible platform concept for electric urban vehicles
Vary from subcompact to compact vehicle dimensions
- Electric motor concept: Permanent magnet synchronous motors (other options possible), close to the wheel
- Performance: 2 x 40 kW
- Torque (rear axle): 1,400 Nm
- Speed (max.): 21,000 rpm
- Transmission: Single-speed transmission, respectively integrated into the motor housing
- Front axle: Double control arm independent suspension, up to 75° steering angle
- Rear axle: eTB - twist beam axle with integrated electric motors
- Steering: Electromechanical power steering system (EPS)
DRIVING PERFORMANCE (example: Rinspeed "Oasis")
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): approx. 9 s
- Maximum speed: 150 km/h