Friedrichshafen, Germany. ZF Friedrichshafen AG has opened the doors of its new testing center for drive technologies. This center provides extended capacities for testing electric, hybrid and combustion engine drives in Friedrichshafen. The company also took the opportunity to announce its future plans for the R&D Center site with the construction of a new office building next to the testing center, designed to create additional working space for the developers who work there.
“The new testing center for drive technologies is the fitness center for mobility of the future. This is where all of ZF’s vehicle drives are technologically fine-tuned to get them in peak condition,” announced Chief Executive Officer of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, Wolf-Henning Scheider, on Wednesday in his speech for the opening of the testing center in Friedrichshafen.
ZF has designed the testing center to be a highly flexible building capable of testing electric, hybrid and combustion engine drives. Battery simulators are used to supply the necessary power to electric and hybrid drives. In this way, the entire power supply for a vehicle can be simulated in the test boxes – whatever the power source. “The building reflects ZF’s candid R&D policy to engage with new technologies in order to develop innovative solutions which provide people with safe and comfortable mobility, affordable for everyone,” emphasized Wolf-Henning Scheider. He thanked everyone involved in the project for their commitment during the three-year construction period.
Friedrichshafen’s First Mayor, Andreas Brand, marked the occasion by saying: “Innovations which are ‘made in Friedrichshafen’ have always been an essential part of our city’s DNA and its development. This is why we welcome the fact that ZF continues to invest in its headquarters, creating attractive and high-value jobs in the Lake Constance region. It is another endorsement of the city’s quest to develop into a high-tech and knowledge hub.”
Further expansion planned for the location
ZF is to extend its capacities in Friedrichshafen even further. A new office building is to be built on the R&D Center premises immediately to the east of the testing center and in keeping with the center’s design. The building is to accommodate around 400 ZF developers. The construction project is currently in the planning and approval stage. Following a total investment of €70 million in the testing center, ZF is expected to invest a double-digit million figure.
In Friedrichshafen, ZF operates numerous test equipment for various requirements and products. This equipment includes the existing transmission test benches in the R&D Center as well as a test bench for the laser-based LIDAR technology, an integral component of the sensor set for automated driving functions. “The testing center specializes in the endurance testing of drive technologies,” said Dr. Dirk Walliser, Head of Corporate Research and Development at ZF. “Here, we can simulate the entire life cycle of a vehicle drive – whether it’s an electric or hybrid drive or a drive with combustion engine – in just three months.” Dirk Walliser also mentioned the test field for automated driving which was launched by ZF together with the city of Friedrichshafen and the institute of training, knowledge and technology transfer (IWT) of Ravensburg University of Cooperative Education. “This test field enables our developers to test automated and autonomous functions virtually at their desks,” commented Dirk Walliser. “This is an invaluable asset, enabling us to speed up our development processes and optimize testing procedures.”
Building specifications of the testing center
Construction period: January 2016–December 2018
Investment sum: €70 million
Surface from ground floor to 3rd upper floor: approx. 5,500 m² per floor
Building volume: approx. 130,000 m³
Building height: 18.50 m plus technical facilities room
Test benches on ground floor: 1st expansion stage: 18 test benches, 2nd expansion stage: 11 test benches
Volume of concrete: approx. 15,000 m³
Volume of structural steel: approx. 3,500 t