Friedrichshafen. Frequent setting off, stopping and setting off again in city traffic is the norm for buses. ZF’s EcoLife 6-speed automatic transmission not only makes driving easier for line service bus and coach drivers, but its many functions also help reduce fuel consumption. Its newest feature, an innovative start-stop function, will improve fuel efficiency even further. EcoLife is now celebrating an important production milestone: its 100,000th unit rolled off the line in Friedrichshafen.
“Whether city bus or motor coach, EcoLife meets the demands of all bus applications,” explains Andreas Moser, head of Axle & Transmission Systems for Buses & Coaches Business Unit at ZF. “The transmission combines high performance with high efficiency, low noise levels and fuel savings.” Moreover, with its innovative start-stop function for city driving designed for the popular 6-speed automatic transmission, ZF has developed an additional way to reduce fuel consumption.
The TopDyn Life control software is yet another feature that helps improve fuel efficiency. Factoring in current driving resistances, it selects the best shifting strategy for the respective topography and also adjusts the braking force, with the possibility to reduce fuel consumption by up to 5 percent. Not only that, the integrated primary retarder is incorporated into the vehicle's brake management system and supports high braking power even at low speeds. This effectively reduces the strain on the vehicle's service brakes. The automatic transmission is available in seven versions altogether. The input torques range from 1,000 to 2,300 newton meters, ensuring an efficient and powerful drive in buses up to 32 tons gross vehicle weight.
ZF has been producing automatic transmissions since 2007. “The market launch began parallel to production of the predecessor model Ecomat, which was phased out in 2015” says Moser. "EcoLife has become well-established on the global market. This is especially thanks to the technological innovations that we have continually added to boost the product’s appeal.” For example, ZF introduced with EcoLife coach an automatic transmission designed specifically to meet the demands of long-distance driving. It was exhibited at the last Busworld trade show in Kortrijk and was touted as ideal for intercity buses and motor coaches with up to 2,300 newton meters of input torque. Even for off-road purposes, the versatile automatic transmission is used in rail and special vehicles under the name EcoLife Offroad.