PARADIGM SHIFT FOR ELECTROMOBILITY
ZF presents new electric two-speed drive for passenger cars
ZF has unveiled a new two-speed electric drive for passenger cars, introducing the next stage of electromobility to the passenger car segment.
ZF’s new two-speed electric drive integrates an advanced electric motor with a shift element and appropriate power electronics. The improvement in energy conversion efficiency compared to previous e-drives extends the driving range for each battery charge.
The compact design makes this new drive system of interest for passenger cars in the compact class. The unit’s modular design can also be fine-tuned and scaled up for use in sports and performance vehicles.
“For electric vehicles in everyday use, it is important to obtain as much range as possible from each battery charge,” Head of System House at ZF’s E-Mobility division, Bert Hellwig, said.
“Every percent of improvement in energy conversion efficiency translates into two percent more range.”
To increase the performance rating of the new electric axle drive system, ZF leveraged its expertise in systems to develop a new electric motor with a maximum power rating of 140 kW paired with a two-stage shift element.
“Bringing together our know-how in relation to electric motors, gearboxes, and power electronics ensures that we achieve the best possible range from each battery charge,” Bert said.
Vehicles with the new two-speed drive consume less energy, which in turn extends range by up to five percent when compared to a one-speed unit. Shifts take place at 70 km/h.
By connecting to the vehicle’s CAN communication, it is also possible – if the customer so wishes – to devise other shift strategies, possibly linked to digital map material and GPS.
For example, the vehicle could identify from the GPS route programming how far it is to the next charging station, enabling it to respond predictively by switching into Eco-mode.
More effective shifts would also be possible in accounting for topography on various types of roads, such as suburban streets, freeways and rural highways. The software in the drive can also be updated thanks to the network link to Cloud services via over-the-air updates.
For vehicle manufacturers, the new two-speed drive offers two options for using improved energy conversion efficiency. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) could either go for an extended range while retaining the same size of accumulator or utilise a smaller accumulator.
ZF says that thanks to the design of this unit that optimises installation space, the two-speed system is suitable for compact passenger cars where interior space is at a premium.
“Until now, with electric motors, vehicle manufacturers have had to choose between high initial torque and a high top speed,” Bert said.
“We are now resolving this conflict and the new drive will be compatible for performance and heavier vehicles – for example passenger cars towing a trailer.”
ZF’s modular approach combines the two-speed gearbox with even more powerful electric motors rated for up to 250 kW. This delivers enhanced acceleration and, potentially, faster top speeds. With its modular concept, the new drive can meet a variety of requirements, says ZF.
For more information, visit www.zf.com/au