ZF is making targeted investments in R&D and production in China

Global technology company ZF presented its innovative technology portfolio to more than 600 representatives from around 40 Chinese automobile manufacturers recently at its “Next Generation Mobility Days” customer event in Shanghai.
Seventeen concept cars with the latest technologies were available for test drives on the Shanghai Formula 1 race track. During driving demonstrations and technical discussions, customers were able to find out about the latest solutions for electromobility, automated driving, passive safety and connected chassis technology for software-defined vehicles.
Highlights at the Formula 1 race track in Shanghai included the first presentation of the purely electromechanical brake system ‘Dry Brake-by-Wire’ as well as Chinese premieres of the electrically powered concept vehicle EVbeat and the magnet-free electric motor I2 SM.
“The future of mobility is rapidly changing towards electrically powered, automated and software-defined vehicles,” ZF Board of Management member, Stephan von Schuckmann, said.
“In China, the largest and most dynamic automotive market in the world, we will continue to invest and grow together with our Chinese customers in China and worldwide – at ‘China speed’.
“We therefore see significant potential to increase our market share in China and the Chinese market’s current share of our global sales, which currently stands at a good 17 percent.”

World premiere: purely electromechanical brake system
The new electromechanical brake system, also known as ‘dry’ brake-by-wire, was presented to the public for the first time worldwide in Shanghai.
This type of brake system no longer requires any brake fluid, so the brake pressure is no longer generated by the pressure of fluids in the hydraulic system, but by electric motors. The brake signals from the pedal to the electric motor are also transmitted purely electrically.
Compared to conventional brake systems, ZF says the new brake-by-wire system, just like the already introduced Integrated Brake Control (IBC), enables shorter braking distances, better recovery of braking energy and lower maintenance costs.
The innovative brake system for software-defined vehicles was developed in a network of ZF development centres in China, the USA and Germany.

China premiere: EVbeat concept car and magnet-free electric motor
Two major new developments in the field of e-mobility were presented in Shanghai for the first time in China – the EVbeat concept vehicle with the EVSys800 electric drive and the I2 SM magnet-free electric motor.
The EVSys800 drive in the Evbeat concept vehicle is a modular 800-volt drive and consists of silicon carbide power electronics, the electric motor, and a reduction gearbox.
Despite its extremely compact design and light weight, it is not stingy with performance in the EVbeat – the concept vehicle has a maximum torque of 5,200 Newton metres available at the rear axle, with a uniquely high torque density for road-legal cars of 70 Newton metres per kilogram of drive weight.
Thanks to the compact reduction gearbox and ZF’s patented ‘braided winding’ technology of the electric motor, the drive saves 50 millimetres of installation space in width and thus enables space-saving coaxial installation on the drive axle.
With a total weight of 74 kilograms, EVSys800, standardised to the same power as the latest ZF 800 Volt series drive, is around 40 kilograms, or a third lighter.
With the I2 SM electric drive, ZF says it has developed the world’s most compact and torque-tight electric motor without magnets and rare earths, and states this will be a sustainable and powerful alternative to conventional electric drives.
In contrast to the magnet-free concepts of so-called externally excited electric motors already available today, ZF says its I2 SM (In-Rotor Inductive-Excited Synchronous Motor) transmits the energy for the magnetic field via an inductive exciter within the rotor shaft. It explains this makes the motor uniquely compact with maximum power and torque density.

China’s positioning as a strategic market is further strengthened
The technologies presented at the Next Generation Mobility Days were jointly developed by ZF’s global and local teams, with many products developed by Chinese employees.
Serving the Chinese market with the best products and technologies is ZF’s long-term commitment to the Chinese market.
Since ZF entered the Chinese market in 1981, China has continuously strengthened its position as one of the company’s strategic core markets.
China is developing into an important location for ZF for the global introduction of products and technologies. For example, cubiX, the software for vehicle motion control, or electric drives with 800-volt silicon carbide were introduced in series production in China for the first time.
Over the past five years, ZF has increased its investment in research and development in the Asia-Pacific region from €220 million in 2019 to €380 million in 2022. The share of R&D in sales has risen from 2.8 percent to four percent.

For more information on ZF in Oceania, and its products and services, please visit www.zf.com/au