Congestion, lack of parking spaces, and driving bans for diesel cars; fearing gridlock and aiming to meet climate targets, many cities are expanding their public transport services. A network of different means of transport that is as seamlessly integrated as possible should offer people all the benefits of mobility. ZF is supporting this switch to low-emission, safe, and smart public transport with a diverse range of electric drives for all vehicle segments, plus sensors and control boxes for autonomous transport systems.
As part of its exhibition at Busworld Europe, the technology company is showcasing its extensive portfolio, including the world premiere of the new generation of the EcoLife automatic transmission system and a retrofitting solution for the all-electric CeTrax bus drive.
To offer a more sustainable and attractive alternative to individual mobility, an increasing number of local public transport networks are providing broad and interconnected services that include traditional means of transport such as buses and trains alongside ride-sharing options or e-bike rental stations.
For example, the technology company offers electric drive solutions for vehicles of all sizes – from the compact and powerful Sachs RS pedelec motor to two versatile e-drives for articulated buses. Firstly, the CeTrax electric central drive with its “plug-and-drive” approach makes it possible for bus manufacturers to electrify existing vehicle models without major changes to the chassis, axles, structural engineering, or differential gear.
Alternatively, the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle, which has already undergone thousands of series tests throughout the world, is an attractive solution for bus manufacturers. Both products are also suitable for the retrofitting of existing fleets to electric drives. The retro-fitting solution for the electric drives is provided by the engineering company e-tro-Fit GmbH.
ZF supplies both CeTrax and AxTrax AVE as a coordinated overall system combined with an inverter and a drive control, therefore guaranteeing its customers maximum performance, efficiency, and service life. ZF is not only the systems supplier for the electric driven axle but also for the OPENMATICS Connectivity platform and, additionally, provides access to the worldwide garage network.
ZF also continues to attach great importance to making conventional drivers increasingly efficient and low-emission. The Group has achieved this with the new generation of the EcoLife automatic transmission system for buses. This system can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3% and will celebrate its launch at Busworld Europe in Brussels.
Reliability and efficiency are decisive factors for transport associations. ZF relies on its broad expertise in smart digital solutions to avoid unplanned downtime and enable efficient fleet management. The Group offers a comprehensive tool for both all-electric and mixed bus fleets in the form of the Openmatics open connectivity platform. Openmatics captures all relevant parameters and diagnostic data from the electric driveline, allowing bus operators to get the most from the charging infrastructure and plan vehicle maintenance on an anticipatory basis.
ZF has also developed a new, cloud-based predictive maintenance programme for the EcoLife transmission system, which is used in city buses: ZF-DriveLife constantly, reliably, and comprehensively monitors and analyses the status of the transmission. This allows operators and OEMs to maximise transmission life through predictive maintenance, while also minimising operating costs and downtime. A similar predictive maintenance approach is used in tour buses with TraXon. With this new feature, ZF has prepared its successful TraXon transmission system for the digital future of the commercial vehicle industry.
In the future, self-driving transport systems for ride-sharing services will make another major contribution to smart urban mobility. ZF has developed a comprehensive range of camera, radar, and LiDAR sensors to allow these robotic taxis to navigate through city traffic reliably and safely.
The company offers the most powerful central computer currently available in the automotive industry in the form of the ZF ProAI RoboThink AI-enabled control box. In the e.GO Moove GmbH joint venture and together with Dutch mobility service provider 2getthere, in which the Group acquired a majority shareholding last spring, ZF is working on various autonomous transport systems for future urban mobility.