Hydrogen-driven double-decker bus has electric drive axle from ZF

January 15, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Hydrogen-driven double-decker bus has electric drive axle from ZF
British bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL) is expanding its product range of double-decker buses to include a model with fuel cell drive. For the powertrain, ADL chose the AxTrax AVE electric drive axle from ZF Friedrichshafen. ZF also supplies the appropriate hardware and software for optimal operation.

ADL spent two years developing its Enviro400 hydrogen-powered double-decker. ZF, in its own words, was involved as a partner right from the start. In the configuration at hand, electricity is produced from hydrogen, which in turn drives the two electric wheel hub motors of the electric portal axle. Fuel cells consume no fossil fuels and produce no harmful exhaust gases, the only local emission is water vapor.

In field tests, on which the prototype followed real bus routes in several cities in the United Kingdom, the Enviro400 impressed with its particularly high efficiency.

In addition to AxTrax AVE, ZF also supplies the inverter, the EST 54 electronic control unit, and the appropriate control software. In this complete network, the company coordinates the performance, efficiency, and service life of the drive. In addition, this system solution reduces testing and approval costs for ADL. 

ZF's AxTrax AVE has two wheel-hub motors for a total power of 250 kW

AxTrax AVE was introduced in 2012 and has been in use worldwide ever since. The electric drive axle can be operated as a fuel cell configuration as well as a hybrid or with lithium-ion batteries purely electrically. Despite its high drive power of 250 kW up to a maximum axle load of 13,000 kilograms, the drive axle offers a compact design. Because neither a conventional unit nor a cardan shaft are required for power transmission, manufacturers have great freedom in designing the passenger compartment: additional seating and standing areas are possible, stepless entrances and exits or completely flat passages.

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