ZF holds a unique position in the mobility sector in that we supply an incredibly diverse range of electric drive systems that power everything from bicycles to truck trailers.
October 02, 2018
Achim Neuwirth has been writing for ZF since 2011. He has specialized in writing texts about all kinds of car-related topics: from vehicles to the technology behind them, to driving and traffic.
No more panting and wheezing your way uphill, and no more hot and sticky morning commutes – pedelecs have arrived! In 2017, almost one in four new bicycles sold in Germany had an auxiliary electric motor. And thanks to ZF, sales are set to go on rising. The Group recently became one of three partners in the newly founded Sachs Micro Mobility Solutions GmbH. The kickoff for this joint venture is the production launch of drive and brake systems for pedelecs and e-bikes.
ELECTRONICS FOR PRIVATE TRANSPORT
Hybrid passenger cars combine a combustion engine with an electric motor. The hybrid module used in ZFʼs 8-speed 8P automatic transmission supports a host of hybrid applications that make it the ideal solution. The mild version delivers up to 20 kW of extra electric power. Thatʼs not enough for purely electric driving, so we designed a plug-in hybrid version of the 8P that makes it feasible. Its electric module boasts a peak output of 90 kW and maximum torque of 250 Nm. This boost in speed makes zero-emission driving at up to 120 km/h possible over a good 50 km range, depending on the onboard battery. ZFʼs 7-speed dual clutch transmission was designed with a focus on combustion. But its 8-speed successor, co-developed with Porsche as a 100 kW hybrid drive right from the outset, is the opposite – a sure sign that electricallyassisted mobility is becoming the norm. A variant without an electric drive module is based on it.
The 8P hybrid drive combines combustion power with electric driving.
“The driveline electrification can no longer be contained. To this end, we develop and deliver core components as well as entire systems for all vehicle types.”
Jörg Grotendorst, Head of e-mobility
TOP: ELECTRIC AXLE DRIVES FROM ZF
ZF is also an expert in axle-based passenger car electrification. Our mSTARS (modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension) axle system is even suitable as a replacement for conventional rear axles in existing vehicle platforms and is also equipped for the ZF axle drive system. With a peak output of 150 kW, this system lays the foundations for all-electric vehicles. Alternatively the electric axle drive transforms vehicles into axle hybrids and all-wheel drive vehicles if the electric drive is combined with a combustion-motor front-wheel drive.
In our recently unveiled concept vehicle equipped with eAMT (electrified Automated Manual Transmission) it also compensates for the momentary loss of propulsion when the automated transmission shifts, providing continuous thrust.
An electric drive integrated into ZFʼs versatile mSTARS rear axle system.
(ALMOST) UNLIMITED E-MOBILITY
Our electric axle drive is also used as the sole drive for minibuses. For example, it provides the acceleration for the e.GO Mover people and cargo mover, which is designed for automated driving. e.GO Moove GmbH starts volume production of the vehicle in 2019. e.GO Moove is a joint venture between ZF and e.GO Mobile AG. For much larger low-floor buses, we supply the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle, formerly the ZF AVE 130. It features two 125 kW electric motors and a torque of 485 Nm. In articulated buses, itʼs even possible to install two AxTRAX AVEs. The drive is already operational in parts of the urban public transport fleets in Stuttgart, Mannheim and Bonn.
Thousands of ZF AxTrax AVEs with electric portal axles are already in operation on the highways.
E-MOBILITY FOR CV: THE CETRAX AND TRAXON FAMILY
CeTrax is yet another system from ZF allowing all-electric driving for heavy commercial vehicles. This electric central drive boasts an output of 300 kW and a torque of 4,400 Nm. Its little brother, CeTrax lite, features a 150 kW, 380 Nm module for delivery vans and other light commercial vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tons. CeTrax mid is a dual package with two 150 kW modules for medium-duty commercial vehicles up to 19 tons.
TraXon, our automatic transmission for heavy trucks and buses, is also suitable for commercial vehicle hybridization. Itʼs powerful enough to move a 40-ton truck at the depot solely with electric drive. Equally, industrial trucks such as forklifts can be powered by ZF electric drives in the 4.5 to 10 kW performance range. Take our Innovation Forklift, for example: ZF engineers taught it to drive not just electrically, but also autonomously.
The ZF CeTrax – our electric central drive for commercial vehicles.
ELECTRIC MOBILITY ON THE FIELD
In off-road machinery, ZFʼs eTRAC drives are the basis for all-electric system solutions as well as for unusual hybrid solutions: our electric Front Axle Drive (eFAD) combines torsion-free 4x4 drive with low consumption, while the eTRAC-GPE 50 electric wheel head on our Innovation Tractor features an electric motor on both the left and right wheels of one of the trailer axles. The electric drive provides up to 80 kW when the tractor is on loose or muddy ground or when driving up or on steep inclines. This trailer traction management system can often alleviate the need to buy a bigger tractor. A plough electrified by ZF offers similar advantages.