ZF has recently presented via an e-mobility media workshop the latest generation of electric drives for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Thanks to their modular concept, the new ZF e-drives support automotive manufacturers in customizing the further electrification of their entire model range. For end customers, the new technologies offer higher efficiency, more power, and shorter charging times.

“We are focusing on three basic systems that meet our customers’ main requirements, namely efficiency,
performance and cost, even in the standard version,” explained Markus Schwabe, Product Line Manager Electrified Powertrain Systems, at the media event. “On this basis, we can optimally implement further individual customer requirements in e-vehicles of all segments”. The new generation of ZF e-drives will be available on the market as a complete system starting in 2025; ZF will bring individual components into series production earlier.

zf electric drives

ZF’s new electric drives: from power electronics to e-motor

With “discrete package technology”, power electronics manage the balancing act between a high degree of component uniformity and high adaptability. The individualization takes place at the chip level: a discretely structured ZF inverter is built with individual power semiconductor switches.

A new, highly integrated e-motor allows ZF to once again increase the power density. Thanks to the new cooling concept, ZF allows oil to flow directly around the copper rods – exactly at the point where most
heat is generated during operation. Such highly efficient cooling significantly increases performance with the same weight and installation space. The continuous power of the electric motor is increased to up to 85 percent of the peak power. In addition, the use of heavy rare earths can be largely dispensed with, and the e-motor can thus be produced more sustainably.

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Coaxial reduction gearbox and high-voltage DC-DC converters

With its new coaxial reduction gearbox, ZF transfers its know-how in planetary gearboxes to the next generation of electric drives. Two integrated planetary gears not only generate the desired axle ratio, but also include the fully integrated differential function. The new solution reduces weight and installation space requirements without compromising efficiency, noise, and vibration.

Finally, high-voltage converters (DC-DC converters) compensate for the low output voltage and the strong voltage drop at high load of the fuel cells. The new high-voltage converter from the ZF power electronics platform, which was developed for passenger car and commercial vehicle applications, has a top value of 99.6 percent in terms of efficiency.

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