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eDrive Kit

On Fast Track Towards Tailor-Made Electric Drive

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With the "Modular eDrive Kit" ZF presents a sophisticated modular kit for all-electric passenger car drives. It grants customers significant benefits when introducing their e model series.
Andreas Neemann, August 30, 2021
Andreas Neemann wrote his first ZF text in 2001 about 6HP transmissions. Since then, the automotive writer has filled many publications for internal and external readers, showcasing his passion for the Group's more complex subjects.
It is good news in difficult times: In Europe, the number of registrations for battery-electric vehicles including plug-in hybrids have now reached record levels. It's not going to change anytime soon. This development is also reflected in the model planning of car manufacturers. They are increasingly focusing on all-electric vehicles. All segments are affected: from the family van to the premium coupé. As demand is still largely driven by government purchasing incentives, no one can say with certainty which model types will shape the electric car market in a few years.

Manufacturers must therefore be able to respond quickly to short-term changes in buyer behavior. Flexibility and speed are required – both in terms of development and market introduction. This is a great opportunity for e-mobility pioneers like ZF. The technology company has great expertise in all-electric drives. The portfolio includes systems, components and software. Electric drives from ZF are already an integral part in all vehicle segments; be it in passenger cars or commercial vehicles, Formula E racing cars or electric scooters.

Versatile construction kit instead of complex individual development

Versatile construction kit instead of complex individual development

ZF is now presenting a modular kit for all-electric passenger car drives. The modular kit not only contains different electric motors, the customer can also choose from different inverters, transmission layouts, electronic control units and other additional components, i.e. accessories. This is exactly how to address uncertainties of future market development. This "Modular E-Drive Kit" features a common technological basis. It can serve as a single source for electric drives for a wide range of vehicle segments and requirements. "We use system design, design, software, engine concept, cooling as well as a large part of the components across the entire platform," explains Dr. Otmar Scharrer about the "Modular E-Drive Kit" approach. "This results in synergy effects: Since installation space and system design are identical across the entire platform, we can also make optimal use of our supply chains – even if our customers change their quantity planning," adds the Head of Development for Electric Drives at ZF.
"With our" Modular eDrive Kit", we can cut the time between development and start of volume production in half - for all-electric passenger car drives compared to today."
Dr. Otmar Scharrer, Head of Development for Electric Drives at ZF.

Depending on the requirements placed on a customer vehicle, ZF can individually supplement the basic package of proven volume production technology; for example, if the performance specifications require an electric motor type other than an asynchronous motor. Or - is an 800 volts architecture to be used for short charging times that requires special insulation on the electric motor? Or - what is the top performance to be delivered by the machine deliver and which coiling concept is suitable for this? Thanks to this modular system, ZF puts an electric drive for extremely dynamic and efficiency requirements in the automotive premium segment on the road as well as an electric motor equally suited for the volume segment which is cut out for cost-optimized production and high volumes. "Thanks to our standardized technical platform, we can cut the time between development and start of volume production in half - compared to today," explains Scharrer.

Put to practice: driveline kit for three performance classes

Put to practice: driveline kit for three performance classes

In principle, the "Modular E-Drive Kit" provides technical solutions for six fields of application in three performance classes: "Low" (power below 100 kW), "Mid" (100 to 200 kW), and "High" (more than 200 kW). Within these performance classes, two segments are to be differentiated: "Premium" based on 800 volts technology and "Basic" with common 400 volts systems. ZF will present volume production solutions from three of these fields in the coming months. "All new volume production drives generate improvements in power density and weight or efficiency," says Scharrer, Head of Development. He adds: "They increase efficiency compared to current drive solutions." The term "engine platform" fits perfectly well with the "Modular E-Drive Kit": Very soon, it’s exactly this kind of motors that will be deployed by many people locally and with zero emissions.
The "Modular eDrive Kit" is based on proven volume production technology from ZF. The end-of-line test of an electric axle drive can be found here.

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