ZF Talks Up Electric Truck Tech

ZF announced it is supplying its AXTrax electric drive axle to the new Freightliner eCascadia Class 8 tractor set to go on sale beginning next year.

ZF, a global technology company and top tier supplier of driveline components for commercial vehicles announced major investments in emerging electric vehicle technologies as well as provided an update of its previously announced acquisition of Wabco at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta on Oct. 27, 2019.

Tomas Bozek, senior vice president of ZF’s commercial vehicle technology division emphasized the depth of challenges facing North American fleets today and detailed the steps the company is doing to not only meet current industry issues such as  job shortages, cost of operations, freight demands and regulations, but future challenges as well.

“Our commitment to the commercial vehicle industry is further proven by two points,” Bozek said. “ZF is investing $13.9 billion in automated driving and electric mobility only across all industries we serve, over the next five years; and our planned acquisition of WABCO, creating an integrated systems provider for commercial vehicle technology.”

In a major announcement on the battery-electric vehicle front, Christian Feldhaus, head of Truck & Van Driveline Technology North America, ZF, put an emphasis on Bozek’s remarks by noting that ZF is now providing commercial vehicle manufacturers with in-house developed and produced eMobility products and system solutions. This includes a high-profile role in helping the new Freightliner eCascadia electric Class 8 tractor come to market next year.

“ZF is proud to announce that our electric drive axle, AxTrax, powers the Freightliner Innovation Fleet eCascadia,” explained Feldhaus. “The ZF electric drive axle, AxTrax, offers zero-emission driving with maximized performance and minimal noise emission – ideal for battery electric vehicles, hybrid drives and fuel cell technology It enables trucks the efficient entrance into zero-emission city zones.”

Dr. Dan Williams, director of ZF’s autonomous vehicle business unit, also announced major enhancements to the company’s vehicle sensors will be introduced next year. These include next-generation sensors, including higher-frequency radar that will better acquire and track stationary objects at highway speeds.

Williams noted that ZF’s global scope and experience in a wide range of vehicles allows it to leverage and scale technologies from around the world to help fleets work safer and more productively. “The business case in commercial vehicle for reduction in driver hours of service, fuel cost reduction and safety have strong economic incentives to adopt advance active safety system technology,” Williams explained. “Additionally, the regulations placed on the industry will require our customers to utilize certain solutions. ZF has the expertise and solutions to meet all of these needs, and because we can transfer our knowledge and development costs from the high-volume passenger car segment to our commercial vehicle customers – this is a unique cost-savings and technology benefit.”

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Senior Editor

As a licensed commercial driver, HDT senior editor Jack Roberts often reports on ground-breaking technical developments and trends in an industry being transformed by technology. With more than two decades covering trucking, in Truck Tech he offers his insights on everything from the latest equipment, systems and components, to telematics and autonomous vehicle technologies.

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