Crisis speeds transition to electromobility, says ZF

July 01, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Corona speeds transition to electromobility, says ZF
The corona crisis has hit the car industry hard. Some believe that nothing will ever be the same again. What remains are the EU targets for reducing CO2 emissions. The automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG regards this as an opportunity: It helps to accelerate the switch to electromobility.

In order to meet the stringent CO2 targets of the EU and China, the share of electrically powered vehicles in the product spectra of the car manufacturers must increase significantly: While 95 grams CO2 per kilometer driven will still be permitted in 2021, emissions in 2030 will only be allowed to reach a maximum of 59 g per kilometer. According to Stephan von Schuckmann, head of ZF's Driveline Technology Division, in order to achieve this goal, the share of electrically driven vehicles must multiply in the decade ahead - from currently 4% to 24% of the units produced. In the same period, the share of conventionally driven vehicles will decrease from 90% to 61%.

The problem: Currently 50 % of car buyers can imagine buying an electric vehicle - but less than 2 % actually do, Schuckmann explained in a virtual press event. The reasons are well known: Still too low ranges, too high prices, an all too thin network of charging stations. Changing this will be one of the focal points of ZF's strategy. The company plans to invest massively in electromobility - and in return gradually phase out its products for conventional combustion engines, explained Michael Ebenhof, Head of Didvision Car Driveline Technology at the supplier. A farewell in installments, but definitely a farewell: ZF does not plan to invest in the further development of technologies for the internal combustion engine anymore; conventional transmissions are also no longer to be developed from scratch - which does not necessarily mean that production will be discontinued in the foreseeable future.

The development efforts will focus on two areas: First, a fully integrated transmission for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and an equally highly integrated, modular electric drive for use as a front or rear axle. Highly integrated in this context means that the power electronics are fully integrated into the housing. This also includes an innovative cooling concept for the IGBT power transistors.

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