Notably, the EcoLife 2 is said to be up to 3% more fuel efficient than its predecessor, and it offers stop-start capability for all models.
The new model retains the six-stage planetary gearset, with torque converter and primary retarder. Technical enhancements allow buses to pull away gently with an input torque of up to 2,000Nm for smooth gear shifting.
Other changes include a new coating to the lamellar clutch, to reduce internal transmission losses and optimise cooling. A stainless-steel heat exchanger mounted behind the transmission is now triple-ducted, integrating the transmission cooling system and eliminating the need for an additional container. The result is a weight saving of 10kg, says ZF, and easier maintenance.
EcoLife 2 will be available to ZF’s existing customers “by next year”, after which it will be rolled out to the rest of the market.
An EcoLife 2 variant for coaches is also being developed, covering the torque range between 1,700 to 2,800Nm.
Separately, ZF has also released a new, cloud-based predictive maintenance system for the EcoLife transmission. Called ZF-DriveLife, the software monitors and analyses the status of the transmission, enabling operators to deploy predictive maintenance to minimise downtime.
EcoLife is typically used on city and urban routes; a similar predictive maintenance system is used in tour buses with the TraXon transmission.