ZF is using its plug-in Vision Zero concept vehicle to showcase a number of new safety and zero local emissions technologies. The vehicle features a 150 kW electric axle drive system for dynamic acceleration. The entire propulsion system, including the integrated power electronics, is housed in an innovative, space-saving modular ZF rear axle system called mSTARS (modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension).
This modular axle system makes it easier to electrify volume production vehicle platforms—even existing ones as demonstrated in the Vision Zero Vehicle. The system offers vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to respond to a diverse range of market requirements using just one car platform variant.
mSTARS provides our customers with a basis for a wide range of applications in multiple vehicle segments. The solution is suitable for hybrid, fuel-cell and battery-powered vehicles as well as in combination with conventional all-wheel modules or our AKC active rear axle steering. The Vision Zero Vehicle demonstrates how quickly it could help the industry meet the challenge of producing high-performance e-cars or hybrids.—Dr. Holger Klein, head of ZF’s Car Chassis Technology Division
In the Vision Zero Vehicle, which is based on a volume production platform for compact and mid-size cars, the mSTARS semi-trailing link independent suspension takes up no more installation space than the conventional rear axle installed originally.
The ZF system frees up installation space between the rear wheels as a result of its unique integral link design and separate spring damper configuration. This means that ZF’s electric drive fits effortlessly into the mSTARS system axle carrier.
The 150 kW drive unit houses not only the electric motor but also a two-stage, one-speed spur gear drive, a differential, and power electronics along with control software.
We’ve put our concept of an intelligent mechanical system and clean mobility into this multifunctional axle system for compact passenger cars and up.—Holger Klein
Even in its basic version, the mSTARS axle also features a high level of driving dynamics and safety, delivering the performance of more expensive, conventional multi-link axles typically used for compact premium and sports vehicles, the company says.
ZF’s AKC active rear axle steering system, which can be combined with any modular axle configuration, improves agility, comfort and stability. Since it also controls the rear wheel steering, it allows advanced assistance systems to operate more reliably and effectively.