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For ZF, the IAA year 2021 is paramount. The technology company presents electric volume production solutions for the "Next Generation Mobility."
Frank Thoma,
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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.
Two calendar dates were crucial in the history of mass mobility. On September 27, 1825, George Stephenson's "Locomotion No. 1" was the first public railway in the world to drive from the English town of Stockton to Darlington. Six decades later, on January 29, 1886, Carl Benz filed a patent for his "vehicle with gas engine operation" – the birth of the automobile. For a long time, we have known that "mobility for everyone" is not only a blessing, but also a curse: After all, the combustion engines installed in the vehicles are responsible for the emission of harmful gases, thus contributing to global climate change. The mobility of the future therefore also has the task to rapidly slow down these negative developments and, finally, put an end to them. On the other hand, it must facilitate the mobility of people and goods.

Mobility today and tomorrow: zero local emissions

Mobility today and tomorrow: zero local emissions
By now, it is a common agreement that next-generation mobility must ensure zero local emissions. Not only to meet the future requirements of national legislators, but also to improve the quality of life, especially in cities, by improving air quality and making less noise. These objectives can only be achieved by extensively using electric drives. Depending on the requirements, these might be purely electric drives or hybrid applications. In passenger cars, for instance, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) plays an important role. A modern PHEV drives purely electrically, above all in everyday inner-city operation; the combustion engine is only activated for long-distance trips. ZF drives in general go equally well with batteries, fuel cells or even overhead contact lines.
ZF has also been selling electric drive solutions for buses for years. Here is the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle.

ZF technology for e-mobility from a single source

ZF technology for e-mobility from a single source
For both, battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids, ZF already has the right products, either in volume production today or close to volume production in test vehicles – for almost all vehicle categories. ZF supplies all essential components for the electric drive system itself. This leads to higher efficiency gains compared to other suppliers who assemble their systems from components from different suppliers. "We are a true systems supplier for passenger cars, trucks and buses. No one else offers customers so much expertise and experience across such a wide range of different applications and technologies. From the electric motor and the inverter to the transmission, ZF represents everything that makes up the best and most efficient electric drives," says Stephan von Schuckmann, member of the ZF Board of Management and head of the Electrified Powertrain Technology Division.

Towards more efficiency in many ways

Towards more efficiency in many ways
ZF's broad line-up is not only the prerequisite for simplifying technology transfers, also economies of scale can be achieved more quickly. With the products for the Next Generation Mobility, ZF relies to a great extent on new technologies as well as on new technical approaches, platforms, modularization and scalability. All these measures – combined with the intelligent use of software – contribute to further optimizing the efficiency of ZF products for electromobility, resulting in better electric ranges and lower costs. What exactly is ZF's plan for the future? Stephan von Schuckmann, ZF Board Member, says: "Already in the next few years, e-mobility applications are intended to overcompensate the declines in conventional drives. This concerns orders worth billions for the next generation of electric cars as of 2025."