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