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ZF PowerLine: When 8 is Greater than 9

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Christian Feldhaus, August 17, 2020
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Christian Feldhaus is Director of Truck & Van Driveline Technology North America. He leads the conventional transmission and electrified driveline business for ZF Commercial Vehicle Technology in the region North America.
Opportunity is derived from challenge, and currently, the North American commercial vehicle (CV) industry is facing numerous challenges, including the need to reduce CO2 emissions, increase efficiency and safety, reduce costs, as well as address a driver shortage. As a mobility technology innovator, ZF saw the opportunity to develop a single viable solution to address these issues that also paves the way to vehicle electrification.

Building on the proven success of the ZF 8-speed transmission for passenger cars and light-duty trucks, we are bringing to market the all-new PowerLine 8-speed fully automatic transmission engineered specifically for CVs. It will be in production by the end of 2020 and will be incorporated in a major OEM platform in 2021. With PowerLine, CV drivers will experience the ease and responsiveness of a passenger car with the performance and rugged durability of a truck – and all with up to 10% improvement in fuel efficiency.

Our new ZF PowerLine is designed to easily pair with a wide range of vehicle classes: from class 3 up to class 7/baby 8. PowerLine features a high-torque, engine-driven power take-off (PTO) interface on both sides making it the most versatile upfit solution for any truck application, including pick-up and delivery (P&D), snowplow, tow truck, refuse truck, bus, etc. Our proven best-in-class gear layout combined with our cutting-edge twin-torsional damping torque converter enables marked improvements over today’s 6-speed transmissions: up to 10% improvement in fuel efficiency and greater than 15% faster acceleration. ZF PowerLine 8-speed transmission provides higher efficiency than other transmissions with 9 and 10 speeds. ZF PowerLine is the perfect blend of material and efficiency, providing world class total cost of ownership. This is truly a case of 8 being greater than 9.

PowerLine can support engine ratings of 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque at 57,000 lbs. gross combined weight rating (GWRC) and will cover the broad medium-duty range with just one product platform. For customers, this highly versatile product delivers performance and functions across all vehicle models and classes, simplifying maintenance and improving fleet management.

In addition, PowerLine is factory equipped with several smart features that provide added safety benefits and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). These include: neutral at stop; park lock rated at 50,000 lbs.; auto park; quick lock up (early 1st gear) and more. PowerLine has no external sensors or wiring, the TCU and mechatronics are internal to the transmission, this unique best in class packaging creates efficiencies as well as cost savings by simplifying the vehicle manufacturing process.

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

At ZF, we are working to provide customers with zero-emissions driving capabilities, which includes solutions for CVs that incorporate electrification; from hybrid-electric to full-electric CVs. While vehicle electrification is not the only innovation to move the CV industry to zero emissions, it is one of the most viable technologies available today that will help transition the industry closer to that goal.
To support the CV industry’s move to the electric vehicle arena, ZF PowerLine will be hybrid-ready at production, with a future version compatible with electric-drive vehicles. ZF’s target is to enable local fleets to transition to zero-emission CVs, and to make the change to low-emission logistics transport as easy as possible, therefore we provide CV manufacturers with in-house developed and produced e-Mobility products and system solutions.

ZF PowerLine is one of the most versatile upfit solution for any truck application.