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E-Bus with Central Drive. Coming soon!

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With the start of production of the CeTrax electric central drive for buses and delivery trucks, ZF continues to push the electrification of commercial vehicles. Learn more about this versatile solution.
Frank Thoma, August 03, 2020
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Frank Thoma has been corporate editor at ZF since 2011. With a degree in journalism, he has been planning, writing and editing articles for all of the company’s internal, external media.
It is a Herculean task for city fathers all over the world. On the one hand, they have to provide efficient and flexible local public transport. Buses play a central role in this effort. On the other hand, the vehicles used must be energy-efficient with a minimum of noise and exhaust emissions. Finally, the quality of life of city residents should be affected by traffic as little as possible.

CeTrax: Central drive with flexible power supply

CeTrax: Central drive with flexible power supply

This challenge is to be met by the electrification of bus fleets. ZF offers two electric drive solutions for city buses. There is the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle, which has already been in operation in many low-floor buses for years. ZF is now supplementing this drive with two electric motors close to the wheels with an electric central drive, whose production will start in the third quarter of 2020. Its name: CeTrax.

The power package with an output of up to 300 kilowatts and a maximum torque of 4,500 Newton meters is suitable for both buses and distribution trucks. Although CeTrax was developed especially for high-floor buses, it can also be installed in low-floor buses. The central drive is just as flexible when it comes to power supply. CeTrax harmonizes as well with batteries, supercaps and the overhead line as with fuel cell solutions.
The CeTrax electric central drive for commercial vehicles can be easily integrated into an existing vehicle platform.

A particular design advantage of this central drive is that CeTrax can be easily installed in vehicles with conventional drive train layouts. This makes it suitable for new vehicles as well as for equipping existing vehicle platforms. "With CeTrax, we are targeting manufacturers who want to integrate an electric drive into their existing classic bus models. Our CeTrax solution saves on costs and reduces the workload involved in technical integration as well as in service," says Andreas Grossl, responsible for Axle and Transmission Systems for Buses and Coaches at ZF.

CeTrax premiere in the Solaris Urbino 15 LE electric

CeTrax premiere in the Solaris Urbino 15 LE electric

The first CeTrax customer is Polish bus manufacturer Solaris. Solaris will equip its new 15-meter-long "Urbino 15 LE electric" e-bus for city and intercity use with ZF's central drive. Further customer start-ups are being prepared. Regarding the significance of the latest E-innovation, Andreas Grossl says: "The start of series production of the electric central drive for buses illustrates the pioneering position ZF is taking in electrification. CeTrax is another building block on the way to emission-free public transport, which ZF supports to the best of its ability."
First city bus to feature CeTrax: the Solaris Urbino 15 LE electric.

Local for Local: Central drive, developed and produced in China

Local for Local: Central drive, developed and produced in China

Because China has been massively promoting electric mobility for years, a local team of engineers from ZF has developed an electric central drive for buses and delivery trucks. The new unit meets the specific requirements of Chinese vehicle manufacturers in terms of safety, performance, and cost-effectiveness. Production of the central drive will start in a Chinese plant before the end of this year. It is designed for city buses and shuttle buses with a length of 10 to 12 meters and for medium-duty trucks up to 12 tons gross vehicle weight. It can also be integrated into established vehicle platforms. The heart of the drive is a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PSM) with an output of 170 kilowatts and a peak torque of 3000 Newton meters. Find out more about this here.
With a maximum power output of up to
300 kW
CeTrax's driving performance equals that of classic drive units.