ZF Unveils Brake-by-Wire System for Software-Defined Vehicles

Mobility Outlook Bureau
14 Nov 2023
09:32 AM
2 Min Read

Developed at ZF's research centers in China, the USA, and Germany, this brake-by-wire system eliminates the need for hydraulic systems and brake fluid


ZF has showcased its latest innovation, a purely electric brake system, at the Next Generation Mobility Day in Shanghai.

Developed at ZF's research centers in China, the USA, and Germany, this brake-by-wire system eliminates the need for hydraulic systems and brake fluid, offering new possibilities in design and development for the global market.

Dr. Holger Klein, CEO, ZF Group, expressed the importance of the new system, stating, 'Our purely electrically controlled braking system is a significant addition to our portfolio of networked chassis systems. With such by-wire systems, we are opening the door to a new era of vehicle control, especially in software-defined and electrically driven vehicles.'

In the 'dry' brake system presented by ZF, brake fluid becomes obsolete, and braking force is generated by electric motors at each wheel. The purely electric transmission of brake signals from the pedal gives rise to the term 'dry brake-by-wire.'

The advantages of this system over traditional braking methods are evident. The brake-by-wire system, similar to Integrated Brake Control (IBC), boasts shorter braking distances, improved recovery of braking energy, and reduced maintenance costs. Automatic emergency braking, for instance, can result in up to a nine-meter reduction in braking distance at a speed of 100 km/h compared to conventional systems.

Furthermore, electric vehicles benefit from up to a 17 percent increase in range through enhanced recuperation of braking energy. The 'dry' brake-by-wire system effectively minimizes residual drag torques, reducing particulate emissions due to brake abrasion and saving energy, thereby potentially increasing an electric vehicle's range.

Aside from the environmental advantages, ZF emphasizes cost efficiency. Dispensing with a hydraulic system reduces assembly and logistics costs during vehicle production. Additionally, users benefit from reduced servicing requirements as brake fluids no longer need to be changed during the vehicle's service life.

Despite the absence of a mechanical connection between the brake pedal and the brake actuators, ZF ensures that the braking feel remains similar to that of a hydraulic brake. The safety of data transmission and energy supply to electric motors is guaranteed through redundant connections and systems, mirroring the standards seen in aviation by-wire systems.

ZF, with over 50 years of experience in brake system development and production, offers a flexible approach. Vehicle manufacturers can choose their braking system, ranging from purely hydraulic to purely electric, or opt for hybrid forms combining both systems.

The company's extensive portfolio extends beyond braking systems, encompassing electronically controlled steering, damping systems, and other components. ZF's holistic approach to networked chassis systems aims to enhance driving dynamics, stability, and efficiency in software-defined vehicles, reaffirming its position as a leading innovator in the automotive industry.

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