German automotive component and transmission supplier ZF has showcased a unique, new 2-speed electric drivetrain for passenger cars, in an effort to shake up the global electromobility segment. The reveal of the new gearbox was part of the company's solutions for ‘Next Generation Mobility’ at its ongoing Global Technology Day 2019.
The move comes as the company prepares itself for an electrified future, with the shift to electric and hybrid powertrains from internal combustion engines intensifying within the auto industry.
“For electric vehicles in everyday use, it is important to obtain as much range as possible from each battery charge,” states Bert Hellwig, head of system house at ZF’s E-Mobility division. “Every percent of improvement in energy conversion efficiency translates into two percent more range," he said.
The company's new drivetrain combines the 2-speed gearbox with an electric motor of 140kW up(190hp). The syatem is modular as the transmission can be paired with even more powerful electric motors rated for up to 250 kW. The company claims the result will be an enhanced acceleration and, potentially, faster top speeds. Until now, with electric motors, vehicle manufacturers have had to choose between high initial torque and a high top-speed”, explains Hellwig. “We are now resolving this conflict and the new drive will be compatible for performance and heavier vehicles.”
The company says its 2-speed drivetrain technology is designed to consume less energy, resulting in a 5 percent higher range when compared to a 1-speed unit; the shifts take place at 70kph.
Using ZF’s new 2-speed gearbox, vehicle manufacturers could either go for an extended range while retaining the same size of the battery or maintain the current range and utilise a smaller battery.
The new concept is modular in nature and can be customised to meet a variety of an automaker's requirements.