Frankfurt/Friedrichshafen. ZF promotes the gradual change from conventional driveline technology to e-mobility: With the electrification of the driveline, the technology company achieves higher efficiency and significantly reduced emissions. For its 8-speed plug-in hybrid transmission, ZF was recognized as the most innovative automotive supplier in the “driveline electrification” category. In Frankfurt am Main, representatives from the independent Center of Automotive Management (CAM) institute and audit firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) presented company representatives with the award.
At a very early stage already, ZF set the goal of promoting the change to e-mobility and hybrid technology through forward-looking concepts. “Efficiency is one of ZF’s key development objectives, and the electrification of the driveline – whether in the form of a hybrid or an all-electric drive – is one of the company’s main levers to achieve this,” says Michael Hankel, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Production. “With our new 8-speed plug-in hybrid transmission we have made a groundbreaking step in this direction. The renowned Automotive Innovations Award once again highlights our innovative strength.”
Depending on their battery capacity, vehicles that are equipped with ZF’s plug-in hybrid transmission can be driven purely electrically, i.e. with zero local emissions, over comparably long distances of up to 50 km and at speeds up to 120 km/h.
The new plug-in hybrid transmission, which is seeing its first production application in the BMW X5 xDrive40e, is based on the advanced 8-speed automatic transmission (8HP). The torque converter in its housing is replaced with an electric motor generating up to 90 kW peak power and 45 kW continuous power – virtually without taking up any additional installation space. The highly integrated, space-saving unit convinced the Automotive Innovations Award’s top-class jury around Ulrich Bez, former CEO of Aston Martin. In granting the award, the jury stated: “This innovation stands out due to its closeness to production and easy replaceability. In this context, replaceability means that, despite the integrated electric motor, the transmission does not require any additional installation space and can therefore be installed in existing vehicles very easily.”
The electrification of the driveline is a firm part of ZF’s strategy. Just how seriously the technology company is taking the gradual change from conventional driveline technology to e-mobility is also reflected in the Group structure: At the beginning of 2016, ZF brought together its activities relating to electrification in the new E-Mobility Division.