ZF all-electric central drive points to future city trucks27 September 2016

ZF confirmed its position at the hub of the commercial vehicle electrification drive at the IAA exhibition, in Hanover, Germany, showing an all-electric central drive in Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck concept vehicle.

The new drive is based on ZF’s AVE 130 electric portal axle, originally designed for city buses as a close-to-wheel electric drive.

It combines an electric motor with a two-stage single-speed transmission, differential and power electronics to form a compact, integrated unit.

“Many commercial vehicles with limited daily mileage can already be operated using all-electric drives,” comments Fredrik Staedtler, head of commercial vehicle technology at ZF.

And he adds that return-to-base operations also favour electric commercial vehicles – noting that their numbers are bound to grow as electric vehicle become mandatory in cities in Europe and Asia.

Staedtler’s all-electric central drive, he says, brings electric city buses and delivery trucks one step closer to zero-emission driving – particularly since it mimics conventional driveline configurations.

The fact that the central drive can be combined with both single rear drive axles and conventional low-floor axles means it can be installed in low-entry buses and all kinds of low-floor buses, he explains.

The new drive is scheduled for volume production starting in 2018.

At 150 kW, the system can also work in light commercial vehicles.

“Identifying synergies between passenger cars and commercial vehicles has always been an asset of ZF and this also holds true for our electrification strategy,” states Staedtler.

Brian Tinham

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