By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy ZF Services Australia

BREAKING: German tech giant ZF has launched new ‘energy management software’ for electric commercial vehicles, the company announced recently.

"Fleet owners - such as transport authorities - also benefit when only one partner assumes overall responsibility for the energy management of a vehicle," said ZF e-mobility expert Winfried Gründler.

The new ZF software regulates the energy allocation for driveline and auxiliary units in electric buses and trucks, it explains. The benefits include higher energy efficiency, longer battery life and easier system integration, it says.

It is available as an add-on to systems already in volume production, ZF confirms.

With its new Energy Management System (EMS) software solution, ZF is providing another attractive proposal for the commercial vehicle market, it states.

According to the company, the management now takes a central role in the electric or electrified driveline, as the ZF EMS can control all auxiliary units such as air compressors, steering pumps and thermal management, as well as coordinating the energy requirements of the driveline.

This integrated approach can help make electrically driven commercial vehicles more efficient, ZF claims.

Energy consumption per kilometre can be reduced, resulting in a corresponding increase in range, as well as a potentially positive influence on the battery's service life, it confirms.

In addition, there are further advantages for maintenance, diagnosis and reduced battery costs, ZF says.



ZF offers the EMS as an add-on to commercial vehicle electric drive systems already in volume production.

In terms of how it works, the EMS coordinates the correct start-up and availability and interaction of all components in the vehicle relevant for the flow of energy, ZF explains. This ranges from the battery’s state of charge to the electric drive and all auxiliary units, such as the compressor, DC/DC converter and heating.

"Only such an integrative approach makes it possible to further increase the efficiency of electric vehicles," said Winfried Gründler, the person responsible for e-mobility in ZF‘s Commercial Vehicle Technology division.

"This illustrates the strategic importance that software expertise has for our group strategy: Next Generation Mobility," he stated.


In this context, by utilising other recognised ZF functions, such as ePreVision, the system can be made more powerful, the company adds.

Thanks to the predictive ePreVision function, the software takes the topographical profile of the route into account to coordinate the energy requirements of the consumables. For example, during predictable, long downhill runs, the compressor can operate on recuperated electrical energy, ZF says.

The EMS can also control charging management at the depot, where there are also advantages to predictive functions. That is, if a vehicle is routed via a long downhill run in the first trip after leaving the depot, the batteries are not fully charged - as this recuperation phase has been predicted and taken into consideration.

Should the charging state of the battery decrease during a long journey, the EMS can lower the energy requirement priority of the auxiliary units to extend the range, ZF explains. Since the EMS continuously checks the functional status of all consumables, it also simplifies diagnostics, it adds.



"With our system, we are targeting bus and truck manufacturers unable to develop their own EMS, or want to use them differently," Gründler said.

"Fleet owners - such as transport authorities - also benefit when only one partner assumes overall responsibility for the energy management of a vehicle."

Overall, ZF’s EMS supports a faster launch to market of highly efficient all-electric commercial vehicles, the company points out.

Manufacturers also benefit from reduced functional integration efforts; ZF’s EMS uses the electric drive control unit - no additional control units are required - and ZF software controls the units via CAN bus interfaces.

The interaction of the drive and energy management software is "perfectly aligned", ZF states.



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