ZF announces massive investment to improve safety systems
Being a major international player in truck technology these days is not simply a case of having a good idea and finding someone else to fund its development.
If you take a close look at ZF, here’s a global company, that doesn’t actually make any vehicles but is working behind the scenes to produce and supply a diverse set of technologies that will help lead to safer roads and lower emissions, enabling transformative change in the market.
“Our commitment to the commercial vehicle industry is further proven by two points. explained Tomas Bozek, Senior Vice President, Commercial Vehicle Technology, ZF.
”Firstly, ZF is investing $13.9 billion in automated driving and electric mobility only across all industries we serve, over the next five years. Secondly, our planned acquisition of WABCO creates an integrated systems provider for commercial vehicle technology.”
ZF’s PowerLine is a perfect example of enhanced mobility solutions. The proven 8-speed automatic transmission for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles has an established track record of more than 12 years of success, with more than 15 million units produced. At the end of 2020, ZF will begin production of PowerLine, the company’s new 8-speed fully automatic transmission for medium-duty commercial vehicles, with a major North American OEM launching in early 2021.
“ZF PowerLine is the industry benchmark torque converter automatic transmission, ready to pair with a wide range of vehicle classes from light and medium duty through to the lighter weight prime movers.
It supports engine ratings of 1350 Nm and vehicle weights of 25,800 kg GCM and covers the broad medium-duty range with just one product,” explained Christian Feldhaus, Head of Truck & Van Driveline Technology North America, ZF.
With its compact and strong 8-speed gear set, ZF PowerLine provides the best-in-class power-to-weight ratio. Barely perceivable shifts throughout these optimally spread gears enables up to 30 percent faster acceleration compared to conventional 6-speed transmissions.
The transmission features a high torque engine-driven PTO interface on both sides for perfect upfit solution for any truck application, pickup and delivery, snow plough, tow truck, refuse truck, bus, etc.
The best-in-class 8-speed gear layout combined with cutting edge twin- torsional damper torque converter enables more than 10 percent fuel efficiency improvement and therefore significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction compared to today’s 6-speed transmissions.
“ZF’s PowerLine equals or achieves higher efficiency than other transmissions with 9 and 10 speeds. With fewer moving parts and less weight than the competition, ZF PowerLine ensures an extended life and reduced maintenance for best-in-class TCO,” said Feldhaus.
Moving forwards to in-house developed and produced eMobility products and system solutions, ZF offers an extensive and diverse electrified drive solutions portfolio for commercial vehicles, from small vans to heavy duty trucks.
“ZF’s electric drive axle, the AxTrax, powers the Freightliner Innovation Fleet eCascadia,” explained Feldhaus.
“It offers zero-emission driving with maximised performance and minimal noise emission – ideal for battery electric vehicles, hybrid drives and fuel cell technology. It enables trucks the efficient entrance into zero-emission city zones.”
Together with its partners, ZF is the global leader in the supply of camera technology and is a top tier supplier of radar technology for both the passenger car and truck markets.
“Studies show that the average cost of lane departure accidents is roughly $53,000 (USD) and 32 percent of accidents are unintentional lane departures,” explained Dan Williams, Director, ADAS & Autonomy, ZF.
“This creates a strong business case for fleets to adopt technologies like OnTraX,. We’re already seeing it – as next year ZF will launch OnTraX’s lane keep assist with its first major OE,” added Mr. Williams.
OnTraX offers further capabilities with the addition of short-range radar, including lane change and city drive assist. The side-mounted short- range radars see in the blind spot where the driver cannot.
When integrated with ReAX the system can be programmed to deliver a haptic warning to the driver if he is approaching an obstacle or vehicle in his blindspot. The system can also be programmed to urge the driver away the obstacle.
In relation to the purchase and integration of WABCO by ZF, which is currently subject to regulatory approvals, Dr. Konstantin Sauer, CFO of ZF, said: “The intended strategic acquisition of WABCO comes at a good time for ZF. ”