ZF plans next-generation electric drive systems

By Mike Brezonick31 August 2021

With the trends pointing toward a significant adoption of battery electric vehicles in the commercial vehicle markets, global powertrain supplier ZF has announced that it will launch an expanded range of eMobility products by 2023.

ZF AxTrfax electric axle ZF announced it will launch a new generation of eMobility products such as its ZF AxTrax electric axle to the North American commercial vehicle market by 2023.

“With the successful integration of WABCO, ZF offers our customers an unparalleled level of eMobility systems expertise that will help the industry meet its goals for a clean and efficient future,” said Christian Feldhaus, director Commercial Vehicle Driveline Technology North America for ZF, speaking at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, Calif. “We are committed to innovate and expand solutions for the North American commercial vehicle market as it moves toward electrification and the Next Generation of Mobility.

“We’re pleased to announce that by 2023, ZF will progressively launch a complete modular next generation of electric drives, with axle and central drives for pickups, trucks and buses of up to 100,000 lbs. – and a major North American OE will launch in the same year.”

The company’s new all-new electric drives will offer up to 360 kW continuous power for battery electric or fuel cell electric vehicles, Feldhaus said.

According to a recent study by ACT Research, one-third of the Class 4-8 commercial vehicle market in the U.S. and Canada will migrate to battery-electric solutions in the next 10 years. To address that growing demand, ZF’s product portfolio includes the AxTrax electric axle and the CeTrax electric central drive. “We are nearing 1 million miles of real-world experience with AxTrax on the Freightliner eCascadia with tremendous results,” Feldhaus said.

ZF also announced in February that it is investing $200 million in North American commercial vehicle transmission manufacturing at its South Carolina transmission facility to bring its Powerline transmission to the region. Multiple North American customers have signed multi-year contracts and while U.S. production will begin in 2023, PowerLine is on U.S. roads today.

“While eMobility is presenting itself at a fast pace, conventional automatic transmissions should not be overlooked as they continue to play a significant role supporting OEs to meet GHG targets for the next decades,” Feldhaus said. “PowerLine can help generate fuel savings of more than 10 percent and is package protected for mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) platforms, supporting the industry transformation to a fully electrified future.”

In addition to its driveline solutions, ZF said it also offers electric power steering, advanced air management and braking system technology, all of which can be used to electrify commercial vehicle systems.

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