What does this mean for chassis mechanics? Control arms, dampers and suspension will still be key components, "Chassis 2.0" makes alternative chassis concepts possible. ZF, as system integrator, is advancing these concepts, combining all systems that make up a software-defined vehicle can be combined in a separate substructure, for example.
Various vehicle bodies can be bolted onto this "mobile chassis platform" consisting of high-performance controllers, Continuous Damping Control, braking systems, steering systems and an electric drive. This setup is known as the skateboard design. At first sight, it looks like a throwback to the body-on-frame architecture from automotive development in the past. In fact, it is the future. It offers a compelling solution for light commercial vehicles used as distribution vehicles in logistics or as small MPVs – autonomous vehicles in any event.
ZF is pursuing a further approach with a modular solution called mStars. The modular axle concept can form the hardware basis for the "Chassis 2.0" in passenger cars. mStars is suitable for all passenger car segments and drive types, and the AKC (Active Kinematics Control (AKC) rear-wheel steering system can also be integrated in a space-neutral manner. In this way, manufacturers can reduce the variety of structural variants and still offer a wide variety of driving functions thanks to networked software.
EasyTurn is suitable for passenger and transport vehicles that have to navigate through the cramped inner-city traffic with its small parking spaces, narrow streets, construction sites and loading zones. The ZF axle concept enables impact angles of up to 80 degrees on the front axle. Turning and parking maneuvers succeed almost playfully thanks to the extremely high wheel impact.