System Solutions, Components, and Software Controls in a Flexible and Modular Platform

ZF has presented its "Modular eDrive Kit" at the IAA 2021 in Munich. ZF says its a world-first that bundles the entire expertise of ZF's e-mobility team for system solutions, components, and software controls in a flexible and modular platform. The company believe a major advantage of using a modular approach is shorter development times. "With our 'Modular eDrive Kit', we will achieve a halving of the development time until series production readiness in the future," says Stephan von Schuckmann, Head of ZF Car Driveline Technology Division. In addition, the company claim its "Modular eDrive Kit" is suitable for different vehicle segments: Configurations with e-machines from 75 to 400 kW drives and 349 to 544 Nm torque are possible can be designed for maximum performance and efficiency. According to ZF the modular eDrive kit covers everything, such as compact cars with 100 kW drives and 400 V inverters, to the premium segment, 200 kW and 800 V inverters based on silicon carbide. Because the system design, construction, software, electric motor concept, cooling and some components are developed on a cross-platform basis, synergy effects and a higher degree of maturity are achieved from the beginning. The basic package is based on proven ZF series technology and can be quickly supplemented or adjusted depending on specific customer requirements.

The "Modular eDrive Kit" comprises three power classes as well as the "Premium" (800V SiC) and "Basic" (400V) segments. Three e-drives comprising the "Modular eDrive Kit" are about to enter series production:

  • "Low" drive solution below 100 kW,

  • "Mid" drive solution up to 200 kW - both based on ASM or PSM machines and an inverter with 400-volt technology

  • "High" solution with an output of over 200 kW, that combines a PSM machine with a silicon carbide-based inverter with 800-volt technology.

"All new drives bring significant improvements in power density, weight and efficiency," emphasizes Dr. Otmar Scharrer, Senior Vice President R&D Electrified Powertrain Technology. The energy efficiency of the "Modular eDrive Kit" can be increased by another module: ZF eConnect is a flexible solution for all-wheel drive vehicles. The system, which is designed to be installation space-neutral, leaves the second axle uncoupled to save energy as long as it is not needed. This reduces mechanical drag losses by up to 90 percent. However, if required, eConnect can engage the second drive within milliseconds via a claw coupling without any losses. eConnect impresses with an efficiency increase of well over two percent compared with the best comparable system currently available in the market.

Predictive driving for greater efficiency

Further efficiency potential has been realized in the EVnext concept vehicle. For example, efficient drive and recuperative braking work well together with an intelligent predictive cruise control system (ACCnext). This takes into account traffic flow, traffic signals and also topographical conditions. According to its own calculations, the ZF software saves up to 13 percent energy thanks to networking with the infrastructure and special control algorithms.