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ZF electric vehicle initiatives

 

Global technology company ZF previewed electric vehicle initiatives in February 2024. Highlights were an electro-mechanical braking system and a magnet-free electric motor.

 

Critics of the electric vehicle revolution point out the shortcomings of the concept – in particular the range issues with battery-electric vehicles – but gnore the fact that development has really only just begun, in comparison with the 100+ years of past internal combustion development.

ZF’s 2024 product preview showed that electric vehicle developments are coming at an increasing pace.

“The future of mobility is rapidly changing towards electrically powered, automated and software-defined vehicles,” said Stephan von Schuckmann, member of the ZF Board of Management.

 

 

A new electromechanical brake system, also known as ‘dry’ brake-by-wire, was presented to the public for the first time.

This type of brake system requires no brake fluid, because braking pressure is not generated by the pressure of fluid in the hydraulic system, but by electric motors.

The brake signals from the pedal to the electric motors are also transmitted purely electrically.

Compared to conventional brake systems, the new brake-by-wire system, just like the already introduced Integrated Brake Control (IBC), enables shorter braking distances, better recovery of braking energy and lower maintenance costs.

The innovative brake system for software-defined vehicles was developed in a network of ZF development centres in China, the USA and Germany.

With its I2 SM electric drive, ZF has developed the world’s most compact and torque-tight electric motor, without magnets and rare earths. This is a sustainable and powerful alternative to conventional electric drives.

In contrast to the magnet-free concepts of so-called externally excited electric motors already available today, ZF’s I2 SM (In-Rotor Inductive-Excited Synchronous Motor) transmits the energy for the magnetic field via an inductive exciter within the rotor shaft.

This makes the motor uniquely compact with maximum power and torque density.

China is developing into an important location for ZF for the global introduction of products and technologies. For example, cubiX, the software for vehicle motion control and electric drives with 800-volt silicon carbide were introduced in series production in China for the first time.

Over the past five years, ZF has increased its investment in research and development in the Asia-Pacific region from €220 million in 2019 to €380 million in 2022. The share of R&D in sales has risen from 2.8 percent to 4 percent.

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