This technology, suitable for electric cars, hybrids and fuel cell vehicles, brings a modular approach to the electric shaft which provides more power and lower prices.

ZF-eAMT veficle
ZF Electric Propulsion System will boost the EV vehicle industry. Photo: ZF

(— November 24, 2018) — German company ZF has invented a new solution that delivers up to 150 kW (204 hp) and is fully integrated in the shaft so it can be installed in both configurations, with front or rear drive. Here are a few reasons why this is important:

This system can be installed on different models from different manufacturers, so it has the potential to bring a revolution into the development of hybrid cars. For example, your next car can deliver up to 204 hp to the rear wheels, while the front can use another engine.

This can greatly improve the weight and power ratio. ZF did not mention whether the system can be installed on both axles of the vehicle, which would bring even more power and torque to electric and electrified models.

Another great advantage of this system is the maximum torque of 380 Nm, delivered by the electric motor. The complete electric shaft has a mass of 250 pounds and can be integrated into numerous architectures. Considering the compact dimensions of the e-axis, the battery that powers the system can be positioned above it or alternatively below the passenger compartment.

Another significant advantage that ZF has achieved with the new system is the use of an asynchronous motor (ASM). This engine does not require any magnetic materials, thus reducing the need for rare elements such as neodymium and dysprosium. Thanks to this solution, the system is cheaper and does not adversely affect the environment like other electric motors, such as conventional synchronous permanent magnet machines (PSMs).

So, the new generation of electric motors will be cheaper, with more horse power and less battery consumption. Precisely what the transportation industry needed to evolve to the next stage in which we could see the end of engines powered by gasoline.

Let’s imagine a big electric car with 204 hp on the axle. Future hybrids could thus be less massive and cheaper than today’s models. Several European companies could be involved in the new solution for EV although ZF did not disclose which company they would team up with to produce the next generation of electric vehicles.

Regardless of how much we like the roar of a powerful gasoline engine beneath the hub, we must accept the fact that the day will come when such cars will have electric shafts. The German ZF is sure of this, so this year the company founded the E-Mobility Division. It deals with all possible requirements regarding electrical transport, and the company will also build a new factory in which the new revolutionary e-axis will be produced.

When a company, as big and serious as ZF, invests in the technology concerned, it is a very clear sign that the automotive industry is in the transformation phase, which means that we will inevitably enter the world of electrified cars as a transition to pure electric transport.

Vehicles that will have a newly developed electric shaft will most likely start to descend from production lines by 2019, as the first systems will be produced this year. However, for a massive presence of the ZF e-axis on the market, it will take several years. What is to be expected is that by 2020, customers will have a wide choice of vehicles with this system.