ZF upgrades US plant for electrified drives

The German supplier ZF has announced that it will build automatic transmissions for electrified drives in cars and commercial vehicles at its US plant in the future. The Friedrichshafen-based company is investing 460 million euros in the plant in Gray Court, South Carolina.

Image: ZF

According to the company, after the conversion, the plant will be the first ZF location in North America where both conventional and electrified drive systems can be produced. The investment is expected to create up to 400 new jobs.

The new product lines to be built in Gray Court will include the fourth generation of the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is also suitable for plug-in hybrid vehicles. In the PHEVs, the transmission supports a purely electric driving performance of up to 160 kW and a torque of 450 Nm – almost double that of the previous 8-speed transmission generation, according to ZF.

“Depending on the battery dimensions in our customers’ vehicles, we can easily achieve a purely electric range of more than 75 kilometres with our latest-generation eight-speed plug-in hybrid. And more electric range means lower CO2 emissions,” says ZF Board of Management member Stephan von Schuckmann, responsible for the Electrified Powertrain Technology Division. “The efficiency, performance and range of the new drive means that the electric motor will be the main drive in plug-in hybrids in the future.”

The plant itself was opened in 2013. Since then, 1,900 employees have been producing eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions for third-generation passenger cars as well as a hybrid-capable eight-speed automatic transmission for medium-duty trucks, buses and pick-ups.

This commercial vehicle transmission, called PowerLine, will be ramped up to a production volume of 200,000 units per year by 2025.



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