ZF's mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions

By of­fer­ing new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions for CVs, ZF wants to play the role of a full-range sys­tems sup­plier.

Commercial Vehicle - - CONTENTS - Story & pho­tos: Bhar­gav TS

By of­fer­ing new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions for CVs, ZF wants to play the role of a full-range sys­tems sup­plier.

Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles (CVs) the world over are chang­ing. As a re­flec­tion of the coun­try’s econ­omy, and as an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to the na­tion’s GDP, CVs are chang­ing. Some of the changes may be dic­tated by reg­u­la­tions, a lot more are in­flu­enced by the chang­ing mar­ket re­quire­ments. Look­ing at such de­vel­op­ments as an op­por­tu­nity, ZF Friedrichshafen AG (ZF), by of­fer­ing new mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions for CVs, wants to play the role of a full-range sys­tems sup­plier. At its tech­nol­ogy day in Ger­many re­cently, Wolf-Hen­ning Schei­der, CEO, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, an­nounced that his com­pany’s strate­gic fo­cus is to be a sys­tems provider that shapes ‘Next Gen­er­a­tion Mo­bil­ity’. “In an in­creas­ingly com­plex tech­nol­ogy en­vi­ron­ment, com­pa­nies that can quickly of­fer per­fectly har­monised sub­sys­tems or com­plete sys­tems so­lu­tions have a dis­tinct ad­van­tage. This is how we have aligned our Group’s strat­egy,” he added.

High­light­ing the Group’s tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess in the area of au­toma­tion, elec­tro­mo­bil­ity, ve­hi­cle mo­tion con­trol and in­te­grated safety, ZF is work­ing with CV OEMs (through its sub­sidiaries and its man­u­fac­tur­ing foot­print the world over) with the in­ten­tion to help them to suc­ceed in their jour­ney to the new age of mo­bil­ity.

Pre­sent­ing its com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach to the fu­ture of mo­bil­ity in CVs by un­der­stand­ing as well as ac­count­ing for chang­ing trends in lo­gis­tics, ZF has in­tro­duced a peo­ple and cargo mover called e.GO Mover in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Aachen-based e.GO Mo­bile AG. De­signed and de­vel­oped to ad­dress the ur­ban mo­bil­ity needs of the fu­ture, the e.GO Mover is a self­driv­ing, elec­tri­cally pow­ered, cloud­con­nected ve­hi­cle that can trans­port as many as 15 peo­ple (10 sit­ting and five stand­ing), mak­ing on­de­mand pick­ups and drop-offs in ur­ban ar­eas while run­ning on a bat­tery that can last up to 10 hours and span up to 100 miles. A prod­uct of e.GO Moove GmbH, a joint ven­ture be­tween ZF’s sub­sidiary Zukunft and e.GO, the e.GO Mover could also move cargo along with peo­ple or apart from them, and em­ploys ZF’s ProAI cen­tral com­puter (us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence) and sen­sors which en­able au­to­mated driv­ing. Highly mod­u­lar in na­ture, the e.GO Mover may look like a mod­ern bus on the out­side as it car­ries peo­ple, is ac­tu­ally a com­bi­na­tion of tech­nolo­gies – tra­di­tional and new age, that look at elim­i­nat­ing CO2 emis­sions and traf­fic con­ges­tion. The se­ries pro­duc­tion of the au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles is sched­uled to be­gin in Aachen, Ger­many, next year. Ini­tially, the ve­hi­cle will be man­u­al­ly­driven with some level of au­ton­o­mous tech­nol­ogy.

Elec­tric axle

Play­ing a key role in the de­vel­op­ment of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles like e.GO Mover that threaten to dis­rupt the way peo­ple movers (es­sen­tially buses), mono­rails, met­ros, and trucks have been looked at, ZF is in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy such that it is able to seam­lessly in­te­grate sen­sors, con­trol units and other el­e­ments that con­trol ve­hi­cle mo­tion, and make it ‘in­tel­li­gent’. Fo­cus­ing on four fields – au­to­mated driv­ing, elec­tric drives, in­te­grated safety sys­tems and ve­hi­cle mo­tion con­trol, ZF wants to pro­vide a comfortable and pleas­ant driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Hav­ing set up an In­ter­net of Things (IoT) Cloud to en­able ex­ten­sive net­work­ing be­tween sys­tems, ZF is look­ing at trucks, buses, off-high­way ve­hi­cles and in­dus­trial tech­nol­ogy. With the aim to re­duce emis­sions at the core of all that it is do­ing, ZF is de­vel­op­ing hy­brid and elec­tric drive so­lu­tions like the AVE 130 elec­tric por­tal axle and the

new CeTrax elec­tric cen­tral drive for city buses. Suit­able for use in con­ven­tional lowfloor and high-floor plat­forms as well as in low-en­try elec­tric buses, the AVE 130 elec­tric por­tal axle has been tested for thou­sands of kilo­me­ters ac­cord­ing to Fredrik Staedtler, Head-Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Tech­nol­ogy, ZF. He stated that their elec­tri­fied por­tal axles have be­gun to pay off.” The num­ber of vol­umes of our AVE 130 and ten­ders are get­ting big­ger,” he added. Wit­ness­ing a rise in de­mand for elec­tri­fied por­tal axles in Europe, ZF is re­ceiv­ing ten­ders rang­ing be­tween five and 225 in num­bers. With big cities in East­ern and Western Europe look­ing at elec­tri­fy­ing buses, ZF is wit­ness­ing its por­tal axles be­ing tried out in de­liv­ery vans as well.

A 18 m long ar­tic­u­lated bus fit­ted with AVE 130 por­tal axles (two in num­ber) and (four) ele­cric mo­tors (with

125 kW out­put and 11000 Nm torque) made for an in­ter­est­ing driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Un­like a con­ven­tional IC en­gine bus, this one moved away with verve, in­di­cat­ing the avail­abil­ity of power right from the start. With no com­bus­tion process to take care of, the bus ac­cel­er­ated in near si­lence, a dis­tant buzz of the mo­tors the only in­di­ca­tor per­haps. High­light­ing su­pe­rior com­fort, per­for­mance and re­fine­ment, the 18 m long ar­tic­u­lated bus pro­vided a first hand feel of how it is to drive an ar­tic­u­lated elec­tric bus, and the level of com­fort and con­ve­nience it would pro­vide to its com­muters. Mak­ing a com­plete pack­age with ad­vanced in­vert­ers, drive con­trol and full power elec­tron­ics in­te­grated, ZF’s por­tal axle is con­fig­ured

such that a

stan­dard ar­tic­u­lated bus will need only one driven AVE 130 elec­tric por­tal axle. The in­stal­la­tion space re­quired for an the por­tal axle is the same as that of a con­ven­tional por­tal axle, and en­ables CV OEMs to save costs. Ca­pa­ble of work­ing with a con­ven­tional power source, in­clud­ing bat­ter­ies, su­per­caps, fuel cells or even over­head lines, the AVE 130 por­tal axle is also suit­able for se­rial hy­brid and plug-in ver­sions. It pro­vides OEMs and pub­lic trans­port op­er­a­tors the flex­i­bil­ity to se­lect power sup­ply.

CeTrax and ReAX EPS

The elec­tric cen­tral drive CeTrax for CVs from ZF is a sys­tem so­lu­tion for low-floor and high-floor buses. Built on a plug-and-drive ap­proach ac­cord­ing to Staedtler, CeTrax is built on a plug-and-drive ap­proach. It is avail­able in mid- and heavy-range, and can be in­te­grated into ex­ist­ing ve­hi­cle plat­forms with­out hav­ing to make ma­jor changes to the chas­sis, axles, stat­ics or dif­fer­en­tial. Lead­ing to a fully elec­tri­fied CV in com­bi­na­tion with an elec­tric por­tal axle, the cen­tral drive is con­fig­ured with a max­i­mum out­put of up to 300 kW and a max­i­mum torque of 4,400 Nm. It is in­tended above all for chal­leng­ing bus ap­pli­ca­tions and of­fers con­sid­er­able weight ad­van­tage as well as ef­fi­ciency. Since the de­liv­ery scope of the sys­tem pack­age also cov­ers drive con­trol and in­vert­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers get an op­ti­mally fine-tuned so­lu­tion that per­forms, is ef­fi­cient and lasts long. With CeTrax as a com­plete so­lu­tion, OEMs could save time and money. They could save time and money since ZF han­dles ho­molo­ga­tion and test­ing of the drive sys­tem. Apart from buses, CeTrax could be used to elec­trify trucks that per­form dis­tri­bu­tion du­ties.

Tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to un­veil ReAX EPS – mark­ing its world de­but, the fully elec­tric steer­ing sys­tem for CVs elim­i­nates the need for hy­draulics and as­so­ci­ated pe­riph­er­als of a con­ven­tional steer­ing sys­tem. The ReAX EPS is based on ZF’s wellestab­lished elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal steer­ing con­cept, which was de­signed to do duty on pas­sen­ger cars. The adap­ta­tion to CVs in­cludes a 70 Nm elec­tric mo­tor, equipped with an in­te­grated con­trol unit, transmission and sen­sors. Of­fer­ing enough as­sist­ing torque that is re­quired to turn truck wheels with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the com­pact di­men­sions, ReAX EPS cre­ates more in­stal­la­tion space in the ve­hi­cle, use­ful for other sys­tems, such as elec­tric drives that in­ter­act with the new steer­ing sys­tem. Ca­pa­ble of sim­pli­fy­ing and ac­cel­er­at­ing the ad­vance of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, in­clud­ing 48-volt on­board ve­hi­cle power sup­ply sys­tems and steer-by-wire op­tions ac­cord­ing to Staedtler, ReAX

EPS, by sup­port­ing pla­toon­ing, could con­trib­ute to smooth func­tion­ing, elim­i­na­tion of traf­fic jams and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion ad­vance­ments.

Be­ing a com­pact unit, ReAX EPS could be lever­aged for au­to­mated driv­ing. It could be cou­pled with elec­tronic con­trols that al­low for cam­era, radar and other in­puts that sup­port au­ton­o­mous driv­ing. Net­worked with con­trol elec­tron­ics such as the ZF ProAI, en­vi­ron­men­tal sen­sors and other ve­hi­cle sys­tems, the in­tel­li­gent steer­ing sys­tem is de­signed to han­dle many tasks, rang­ing from lat­eral con­trol to SAE Level 4 au­to­mated driv­ing. The truck could steer it­self on cer­tain sec­tions of the high­way or per­form nec­es­sary

ma­noeu­vres in the load­ing area. While the truck per­forms au­tonomously, the driver could in­dulge in ac­tiv­i­ties or rest. Fit­ted to a DAF truck, ReAX EPS made for a smooth and comfortable drive. With ac­tive steer­ing wheel re­turn to the cen­tre, com­pen­sa­tion for road crown and cross winds, and for speed de­pen­dent as­sist, the elec­tric power steer­ing called for much less ef­fort when ne­go­ti­at­ing turns and while ma­noeu­vring in tight spaces. Sur­pris­ing was the near pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle feel of the steer­ing, and the smooth as­sist; de­void of any jerks or lag. The de­vel­op­ment of ReAX EPS was sup­ported by ZF’s ac­qui­si­tion of TRW ac­cord­ing to Staedtler.

TraXon Hy­brid and In­no­va­tion Truck

Fit­ted with an elec­tric mo­tor TraXon Hy­brid is an AMT unit that adds hy­brid func­tion­al­ity to CVs; HCVs es­pe­cially. In­cor­po­rat­ing an in­ter­est­ing fea­ture called gen­er­a­tor mode, which en­ables the unit to sup­ply power to other units on a truck like the air-con of a reefer truck, TraXon Hy­brid fit­ted on a DAF truck made for some ex­cit­ing driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Laced with three fuel sav­ing modes, the truck smoothly rolled off the line upon re­leas­ing the brake pedal. In the speed shift­ing mode, the abil­ity to quickly shift from 10th to 11th gear, and from 11th gear to 12th gear while go­ing up an in­cline helped to main­tain the mo­men­tum. If the fea­ture also helps con­serve fuel, what sur­prised was the abil­ity of the truck to eas­ily climb gra­di­ents in di­rect or over­drive. The over­drive fea­ture is en­gi­neered to be use­ful dur­ing long hauls, and pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in en­gine speed while in top gear. Of­fer­ing a big ad­van­tage over man­ual transmission that would call for fre­quent shift­ing when ne­go­ti­at­ing gra­di­ents, or in traf­fic-in­ten­sive en­vi­ron­ments, TraXon Hy­brid on the DAF truck came with a dual-clutch mod­ule. The com­bi­na­tion made for easy down­shifts and up­shifts un­der load and with­out torque in­ter­rup­tion.

Apart from heavy duty trucks, TraXon hy­brid is suit­able for coaches as well, and where the hy­brid drive can of­fer the same ad­van­tages. Quite mod­u­lar in na­ture, the hy­brid AMT will come equipped with an op­tional pre­dic­tive main­te­nance func­tion start­ing in 2019. This would of­fer fleet op­er­a­tors the ca­pa­bil­ity to mon­i­tor the con­di­tion of crit­i­cal in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents such as the transmission oil or

⇧ The AVE 130 elec­tric por­tal axle comes laced with ad­vanced in­vert­ers, drive con­trol and full power elec­tron­ics in­te­grated.

⇨ De­signed and de­vel­oped to ad­dress ur­ban mo­bil­ity needs, the e.GO Mover is a self-driv­ing, elec­tri­cally pow­ered cloud­con­nected ve­hi­cle.

⇧ Fredrik Staedtler, Head-Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Tech­nol­ogy, ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

⇧ Mak­ing its global de­but, the ReAX EPS is an elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal steer­ing sys­tem de­signed for hy­brid and elec­tric ve­hi­cles es­pe­cially.

⇦ The CeTrax elec­tric cen­tral drive can be in­te­grated into ex­ist­ing ve­hi­cle plat­forms.

⇧ The au­ton­o­mous ter­mi­nal yard trac­tor ma­noeu­vres trail­ers in de­fined ar­eas like ware­hous­ing com­plexes and port ter­mi­nal ar­eas.

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