Everyone is talking about electric mobility. This trend is continuing not only in the automotive industry, also for 'off-road' and for specialty vehicles. Modern vehicles ought to be fast and efficient and – particularly important today – clean and quiet. In line with the motto "ZF electrifies everything", the product portfolio therefore includes purely electrical and hybrid solutions also for special vehicle segments.
Electric vehicles are not yet an option for caravanners. Due to the additional energy requirement, pulling a caravan reduces the range of a battery-electric towing vehicle to less than half, depending on the topography.
The solution: an own drive for the caravan. For the world's first electrically powered caravan prototype, the E.HOME Caravan, ZF is supplying the modular electric drive system, consisting of electric motors, power electronics and sensors, as well as the brake system and trailer motion control.
Two 330-volt asynchronous electric motors with a continuous output of 30 kilowatts, a maximum of 90 kilowatts, are installed in the prototype.
The integrated two-stage transmission in each electric drive unit ensures a maximum torque of 1,440 Newton meters at the wheel. This is enough to overcome four centimeter high curbs or floor plates when maneuvering the uncoupled caravan on the campsite from a standstill. When driving downhill, the electric motors function as generators that feed power into the batteries and extend the range.
The central electric drive CeTrax allows vehicles to drive locally with zero emissions. Due to its “plug-and-drive” approach, CeTrax can be integrated into existing vehicle platforms without the need to make major changes to the chassis, axles or differential. The scope of delivery of the system also includes drive control and inverters, which gives manufacturers an optimally coordinated overall solution in terms of performance, efficiency and service life. In addition, the electric central drive operates almost silently and thus complies with legal noise restrictions even at night.
In order to master the meter-high dunes and stony canyons of the Dakar off-road rally, ZF developed a new hybrid driveline. The system, consisting of the central electric axle drive CeTrax Lite RS, of integrated power electronics and hybrid control unit, turns the rally truck into an all-wheel off-road vehicle in conjunction with the automatic transmission and transfer case. With an additional 1,400 Nm of torque, a continuous output of 80 kW and 150 kW of peak power, CeTrax Lite RS supports the diesel main unit and provides the rally truck with additional power.
The first electrically powered E.HOME caravan, which ZF developed together with the Erwin Hymer Group and Dethleffs, was put to the tough test: In a demanding caravan tour across the Alps, the project partners have proven the practicality of the E.HOME prototype concept.
380 km from the Allgäu to Lake Garda with the electric vehicles - and without recharging!