The car revolution is just beginning, but we already see advances being announced for the very near future. Siemens and its 260 kW engine are just the tip of the iceberg, as ZF has recently shown us. The company has disclosed it is working on a new modular electric axle system, called E-Drive Axle, that will be put in a production car in 2018. From an European carmaker. More than enough tips for us to bet on a car: the 2019 Audi Q6, the all-electric SUV the German brand intends to present in 2018. Which will be inspired by the e-tron quattro concept, this car right below.
Each ZF E-Drive Axle has an electric engine that can produce up to 150 kW and 380 Nm of torque. It can be used in any axle of the car or in both of them, as a quattro would require. The E-Drive Axle weighs 113 kg and its engine is 450 mm long, 380 mm wide and 510 mm tall.
The engine is an asynchronous motor (ASM) with a two-stage single-speed transmission. Asynchronous engines do not require magnetic materials, such as rare earth elements like neodymium or dysprosium, what makes them predictably cheaper. All components, such as the differential, the cooling unit and the electronic control module are put together on the E-Drive Axle. That makes it a very compact powertrain, something that ZF claims to make fitting it to different platforms an “easier” task.
ZF says the E-Drive Axle can be used by battery-powered, fuel cell or hybrid vehicles. It will be built in Schweinfurt, a plant that will house the ZF E-Mobility division and which is already being provided.
The e-tron quattro concept is 4.88 m long, 1.93 m wide, 1.54 m high and would count on 320 kW from an electric engine at the front axle and two of them on the rear axle. Isn’t this output figure another auspicious coincidence with ZF’s E-Drive Axle?