ZF reveals electric truck prototype developed for the Japanese market

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 25, 2019

ZF Japan Co. Ltd has announced the company has developed an electric light commercial vehicle specifically for the Japanese market. Driven by its slogan, ‘ZF electrifies everything‘, the company has been electrifying a wide range of systems not only for passenger cars and commercial vehicles but also for industrial machines. This prototype vehicle has been developed by ZF Japan‘s engineering team at their Tech Center in Yokohama, collaborating with a team in ZF HQ in Germany in order to satisfy Japan‘s unique requirements.

The ‘CeTrax lite‘, developed based on ZF’s electric drive for passenger vehicles, is an electric drive for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) with a GTW of up to 7.5 tons. Through ZF’s systematic approach of integrating an electric motor, power electronics, transmission and cooling system, the company achieved a compact and light driveline unit with a total weight of 120kg.

“The beauty of our new E-drive module is that it can be installed in existing internal combustion engine (ICE) models and therefore converted to a fully electric vehicle without major modifications to the chassis and axles. This is thanks to our ‘plug-and-drive’ concept. The system is proven in terms of durability and cost efficiency as the electric drive system for passenger cars is already in series production in the market,” said Robert T. Seidler, head of R&D at ZF Japan.

An asynchronous motor equipped with the prototype truck generates 150kW and 380Nm ensuring the same level of performance as ICEs in this class while also realising local zero emissions and low noise output. ZF believes this electric truck definitively satisfies the needs of Japanese LCV manufacturers and fleet operators. These needs include delivery to 24 hour stores in residential areas both in the early morning or late at night, frequent stop-and-go style driving to fill drinks in vending machines, parcel home deliveries, and so on. The driveline has enough power, low noise output, and energy efficiency to make the CeTrax lite an invaluable asset to Japanese customers.

“The new prototype is made by replacing the conventional ICE driveline of the most commonly used LCVs in Japan with ZF’s CeTrax lite, that is to say, trucks with a 5-ton GVW and load capacity of 2 tons. Starting from this vehicle, ZF will continue to move towards electrification in Japan, as well as globally, while endeavouring to meet the specific requirements of commercial vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators,” said Seidler.