Dr. Otmar Scharrer is excited to share the details: "Our technology prototype, for example, does not need any heavy rare earths for the electric motor", says the Head of Development for Electrified Powertrain Technology at ZF, adding: "The reduced number of components and the reduction in system weight of the electric drive enhance sustainability on two fronts – in production and operation."
Sounds good? Let's take a look at the details. As already mentioned, the developers have made many adjustments. Their approach is to combine innovative electric drive components into an overall system. Let's start with the heart of the vehicle, the electric driveline. This 800-volt drive is called EVSys800. This compact, modular drive system consists of an electric motor, reduction drive and power electronics based on silicon carbide.
In the EVbeat, an EVSys800 works on the rear axle with a maximum torque of 5,200 newton meters and a continuous moment of 2,850 newton meters. The peak and continuous output of the electric drive system is 275 and 206 kilowatts respectively. With a total weight of 74 kilograms, EVSys800 is about 40 kilograms lighter than ZF's latest 800-volt volume production drive and, at 70 Nm/kg, delivers a new benchmark value in terms of torque density. In 2026, ZF will launch the first modules of this new drive on the market.
With the EVSys800, ZF relies for the e-motor on a new cooling concept and winding technology developed in-house. For cooling purposes, oil flows around the copper rods in the electric motor, absorbing the heat directly where most heat is generated during operation.
The inverter of the E-Drive was fundamentally redesigned. In the process, all major assemblies were revised. Significant improvements were made to the electromagnetic compatibility, power modules and capacitors in terms of installation space, weight and sustainability.
On the mechanical side, a new reduction drive with a coaxial design ensures that weight and installation space requirements are reduced without compromising efficiency, noise and vibration development. The coaxial reduction drive transmits the drive forces of the electric motor via two integrated planetary gearsets. These gearsets not only generate the desired axle ratio, but also assume the fully integrated differential function.
As important as the characteristics of the hardware systems are for the vehicle's sustainable operation, it is the drive software that optimally orchestrates these systems in the vehicle. ZF has developed Software for Powertrain (SW4PT) for this purpose. It not only networks all vehicle systems relating to the drive, but also creates the connection to the cloud for further additional services. "Software for Powertrain alone allows us to increase the efficiency of the drive by another six percent," explains Scharrer.
Software for Powertrain can proactively derive the optimal operating points from the individual driving profiles and prepare the system accordingly. SW4PT "learns" the driver's behavior; it can anticipate the probability for individual driving profiles by accessing the cloud. For example, air conditioning and system cooling are reduced if the system recognizes a previously driven short route. The assistance system also uses this data to provide the driver with direct tips on how to use the electric drive efficiently. It may, for example, instruct the driver to take their foot off the accelerator pedal well before a speed limit and slow down using the recuperation function.