EcoLife - The Universal Geniusin city buses and coaches

EcoLife - 6-speed automatic transmission for buses

Making urban life livable

Start, stop, start, stop: city traffic is often a pain. Relieve the stress with our EcoLife 6-speed automatic transmission – the uncompromising solution in any application. That goes for economy as well as ecology.

EcoLife instead of compromise

  • Fuel economy with innovative stop/start function over the entire transmission service life
  • 6 gear steps ensure operation in the optimum speed range at all times
  • TopoDyn Life driving resistance-dependent shift control
  • Stop/start function fully integrated into the same installation space
  • Top braking power with integrated primary retarder and dual cooling concept

Depending on your system, you save up to 10 % fuel

Suitable for all buses. Whether in city or intercity operation, EcoLife is the ideal transmission for any application.

The powershift transmission has an optimal gear ratio spread combined with especially high mechanical efficiency. The torque converter lock-up clutch closes shortly after setoff to use engine power effectively. Combined with the torque converter ratio, the six gears produce a maximum total spread of 12.5. TopoDyn Life shift software controls the gear shifts. As the topography changes, this program always selects the right gear, while also taking into account all other driving resistance values.

The hydrodynamic torque converter with standard turbine torsional damper enables high input torques at low engine speeds. This cuts fuel consumption by up to 5 percent compared with automatic transmissions with fewer than 6 gears. It also reduces the noise level. The integrated primary retarder is incorporated into the vehicle's brake management system and supports high braking power even at low speeds. This effectively reduces the strain on the vehicle's service brakes. The dual cooling system with transmission and retarder heat exchanger reliably protects against overheating and extends oil change intervals.

The biggest challenge in congested urban areas is driving with lots of short stops of under 20 seconds. This is also where the greatest potential for savings lies. Now, after extensive hardware and software enhancements, EcoLife with a torque of up to 1,600 newton meters is fully stop/start-capable. As a result, the transmission system manages an unlimited stop/start frequency in city traffic. That adds up to another fuel saving of up to 10 %.

For every day, for every route

High-performance and economic

More performance coupled with better economy - ZF's EcoLife commercial vehicle transmission squares the circle. This six-gear automatic transmission, deployed in urban and long-distance buses and also in coaches, but also in special-purpose and rail vehicles, is perfectly attuned even to high levels of torque. It transmits up to 2,300 Nm (1,696 lb-ft) and is fitted with the topography-dependent TopoDyn Life shift control system as standard. This ensures a significant fuel savings effect especially on roads with varied topography.

Whether in city traffic or overland, whether it’s a diesel or gas engine

With EcoLife you always drive economically. It’s your choice: A line with a lot of stop-and-go traffic, one with a maxi-mum speed of 80 km/h, or both in one route profile – with our transmission, you need no compromises.

Powerful and universally applicable

In all driving situations, the engine output is used optimally; high torque ensures the bus can move off dynamically, while the integrated primary retarder provides effective braking. This preserves the service brakes and protects the environment thanks to fewer brake dust.
EcoLife is also economical in terms of noise emissions.

In addition, the transmission increases the vehicles resale value because EcoLife slots in perfectly with the bus’s new life – irrespective of whether that entails servicing grueling urban routes or long-distance transport.

Topodyn Life - Continuous Shift Program

For all route profiles

With TopoDyn Life, a control software system developed specially for EcoLife, the transmission adapts the shift characteristic to the particular route profile during travel. Shift points are calculated in consideration of topography, current load and acceleration values, and variable drive resistance parameters, such as carriageway surface and bend angle. When the bus is driving on plane track sections, TopoDyn Life automatically selects the most economical shift characteristic. When the terrain becomes steeper, the software seamlessly adapts the selection of shift points to the appropriate gradient.

Wherever you are on the road

Our intelligent drive program TopoDyn Life automatically and smoothly adjusts the gearshift strategy to the route profile and thus reliably reduces fuel consumption. Furthermore, the retarder selects the optimal braking power which is also dependent on topography and bus weight. EcoLife ensures extremely low life cycle costs through its great robustness and long maintenance intervals.

Less Vehicle Noise

Environmental friendliness and noise reduction included

The engine speed can be kept low thanks to the intelligent design, six fine-stepped gears, and the TopoDyn Life shift program. During the setting-off process, a maximum speed reduction of about 700 revolutions per minute compared to conventional automatic transmissions is possible. DEKRA expert opinion confirms up to 6.4 dB(A) lower noise level when setting off.

Lower speeds relate to reduced engine noise - thus, it is not only the pedestrians and people who live near bus stops who benefit from this development but also the passengers. In particular in the area of the rear seat rows, an enormous noise level is generated due to the high engine speeds.

No fuel consumption at vehicle standstill

A start/stop function saves up to 10 percent fuel in city traffic

City buses are often stuck in stop-and-go traffic, waiting for red lights or roadworks, as well as stopping at the many designated stops en route.

The start/stop function in the ZF-EcoLife automatic transmission is suited to the city bus. This new function automatically shuts off the engine when the bus comes to a standstill, reducing fuel consumption levels to zero. As the driver moves the foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal, the engine and the transmission system are ready for an immediate start.

In the first step, the start/stop function is available for maximum engine torques from 1,000 to 1,600 Nm (738 to 1,180 lb-ft).

Reinforced converter, advanced control

For the start/stop function to operate effectively even after a longer engine standstill, it is essential that the transmission's shift elements are refilled with oil as soon as the accelerator pedal is engaged – only then is the vehicle ready to pull away. For this purpose, the control software was further improved. Thanks to the reinforced converter including lock-up clutch and adapted hydraulics, EcoLife is now able to master the challenge of short response times.

Ecolife Coach The Automatic Transmission for Coaches

Hilly roads, narrow curves, large inclines with reduced motor power, then back to intercity or city traffic. Stop and go. Slow driving. Frequent braking and acceleration. That's why there's EcoLife Coach.

Coach transmissions have to do a lot. This is where EcoLife Coach demonstrates its advantages over manual and automated transmissions – with 25 percent more torque and designed for a much longer service life, challenging roads and slopes. Up to 2,300 Nm (1,696 lb-ft) of torque and 6 speeds ensure high average speeds at low engine speeds thanks to a higher constant axle ratio. That means the engine can always supply full torque without disengaging and engaging the clutch, and without losing speed during gearshifts.

The standard integrated TopoDyn Life drive program makes a major contribution by activating the right gearshift strategy to deliver optimum fuel consumption based on the topography and driving resistance. The brake force is adjusted automatically. Fuel consumption and noise development remain at a low level. The primary retarder does not depend on the output speed, which is why it delivers maximum deceleration almost up to standstill. The dual cooling system with transmission and retarder heat exchanger reliably protects against overheating, which extends oil change intervals.

Developed for high requirements

The torque converter used in the improved EcoLife transmission is even more powerful than its predecessor. With its reinforced converter cover, it is designed for engine torques of up to 2,300 Nm (1,696 lb-ft). The converter clutch significantly helps cut fuel consumption. After a short start-off phase, the torque converter is bypassed, which guarantees maximum energy efficiency. The standard torsional vibration damper reduces shift speeds so that the engine can run at lower speeds. This enables slow maneuvering without clutch wear.

More information on the technology

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