ZF introduces axle hybrid concept for small vehicles
The eAMT (electrified Automated Manual Transmission) system by the automobile supplier ZF was developed as a concept to electrify small and compact vehicles with front wheel drive and a transverse engine. To do this, ZF combined their electric axle drive system (eVD) and the automated manual transmission (AMT).
The eAMT concept eliminates tractive force interruptions, as the electric motor covers the system-required pause of the AMT. In addition to the hybrid functions, the eAMT also offers electric all-wheel drive.
Until now, the additional costs and development work, as well as the small space available to work in were the largest barriers to a reasonably priced, front-wheel mounted hybridization for small and compact vehicles. Functional developer of electric drives at ZF, Norman Schmidt-Winkel stated: “With eAMT, ZF has developed a fully-fledged plug-in hybrid drive for front-transverse vehicles,” before adding: “This increases flexibility for vehicle manufacturers. They can use existing platforms to implement conventional drives or plug-in hybrids.”
The ZF concept connects an automated transmission with an electric axle-mounted motor on the rear axle. The automated transmission is a good solution for vehicle classes, that would ordinarily not qualify for electrification due to restrictions in size, design or costs. The system also improves comfort and efficiency for the driver, as they no longer have to change gears manually.
A prototype produced by ZF, which features the eAMT system in a compact SUV as a demonstrator, shows how well the balance between front-mounted combustion motor, automated transmission and the rear electric motor works. Furthermore, ZF installed an electric motor strong enough to drive the vehicle on its own. Which function range and how much performance will be featured in future plug-in hybrids will be freely selectable by vehicle manufacturers using the eAMT system.