Emission-free in China: ZF presents new electric central drive for commercial vehicles with functional safety

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 16, 2019

Against a backdrop of exhaust pollution in China‘s cities, the country‘s commitment to electromobility is probably greater than that of any other country. The electrification of public transport and distribution logistics plays an important role in satisfying this commitment. ZF is supporting China‘s efforts with supply of a new electric central drive for buses and medium-duty trucks. Developed in China, with future production planned there, the new unit is designed to meet the particular conditions of the Chinese market and the requirements of vehicle manufacturers there.

The new electric central drive was developed by a local ZF development team to meet the specific requirements of the Chinese market in terms of safety, performance and cost-effectiveness. Designed for city and shuttle buses with a length of 10 to 12 metres as well as medium-duty trucks up to 12 tons, it meets all the necessary standards for integration into established vehicle platforms.

The unit is driven by a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PSM). As a permanent magnet motor, it is highly efficient even at low speed range, making it particularly suitable for stop-go traffic typical of urban areas, while enabling greater range per battery charge. With an output of 170kW, peak torque of 3000Nm and a maximum climbing capacity of approx. 15 percent (bus) or 25 percent (truck), demanding topographies are no problem for the new drive. Production is expected to start in China next year, which will ensure rapid availability to the market.

In addition to the unit, ZF will also be able to supply inverters and control units including the appropriate software. This guarantees optimum efficiency between battery and drive and reduces testing and homologation costs for the manufacturer. Thanks to ZF software competence, the drivetrain control unit offers comprehensive additional functionalities and ensures a higher safety level compared to other solutions on the market. The system is designed to fulfil international functional safety standard (ISO26262) with level at ASIL-C.