Technology company ZF has announced that it has crossed the two million production mark for electric motors ranging from hybrid and electric axle drives for electric passenger cars to electric central drives for commercial vehicles.
A press release from ZF stated that to keep pace with the global increase in electric vehicle production, the company has continuously expanded production capacities for electric motors at the lead plant in Schweinfurt, Germany.
Additionally, the company recently commissioned major production lines in Pančevo (Serbia) and Shenyang (China). Another plant in North America is currently under construction and will go into operation in 2023.
Stephan von Schuckmann, Member of the Board of Management and responsible for Electrified Powertrain Technology, ZF, said that the production anniversary is backed by long-term entrepreneurial decisions and innovative engineering spirit.
Notably, the company entered the electric motor space in 2008 with an electric motor for a premium mild-hybrid.
After 2015, when the demand for pure electric mobility started to become visible, the company focused on new technology, hairpin winding.
The hairpin winding technology enabled wires to be packed tighter together, which helps increase the power, speeds and torque with the same space.
ZF noted that this was necessary because, with purely electric drives, the running speed of the electric motor is no longer coupled with the combustion engine.
Furthermore, hairpin technology can also increase the level of automation in production. The company said this is important when setting the course for high volumes and is state-of-the-art technology today.
ZF electric motors cover a broad range of applications, from mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids to purely electric drive systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The performance range is 50 kW to 550 kW, with torques of 75 Nm to 1,500 Nm.
ZF sees essential approaches in cooling. In recent years, sophisticated cooling solutions have been introduced in addition to the classic cooling jacket with water flowing through.
In this view, Roland Hintringer, Head of the Electric Motors Product Line, ZF, stated that the company is developing a solution with oil flowing past – to directly cool the copper wire, which is the main heat source in electric motors.
With this, the hairpin bar winding will not be the last innovation of the current winding technology.
Furthermore, given globally increasing volumes and the high demand for electric powertrain technology, the next production milestone for the company, which is to produce the next two million units of electric motors in less than two years, will be achieved, hinted Hintringer.
He continued, “If these two million electric motors from ZF replace conventional combustion-engine passenger car drives, they save approx. 45 million tonne of carbon dioxide over the average passenger car service life of 15 years.”