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Flexibility thanks to open technology: the AxTrax AVE can be operated not only using lithium-ion batteries, but also a fuel cell or as a hybrid.

ZF added another feather to its cap at this year’s ElekBu conference, an electric bus conference for transport authorities, technology companies and science. Its AxTrax AVE electric portal axle was honored with the 2019 EBUS Award in the category “Drives for Battery Buses.” The award is sponsored by the Forum für Verkehr und Logistik e.V., an association that promotes electromobility of buses in public transport.

“For ZF, it is both a mandate as well as a core competency to electrify road transport across the board and, in doing so, offer the appropriate solution for every application.  This award confirms that we are on the right path,” commented Dr. Andreas Grossl, head of the Axle & Transmission Systems for Buses & Coaches Business Unit, upon receiving the award at the award ceremony held on February 4 in Berlin. To achieve current and future climate goals and to eliminate particulates, CO2 and noise in cities, public transport systems have to be rethought. ZF’s AxTrax AVE electric portal axle makes it easier for bus manufacturers and public transport authorities to switch over to quiet, zero local emission drives. This driven axle can be operated all electric not only by battery or overhead lines, but also in hybrid or fuel cell configurations. The flexible configuration options and the ability to select an energy source make it the ideal solution for almost any urban environment.

A win for the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle: Dr. Andreas Grossl (5th from left), head of the Axle & Transmission Systems for Buses and Coaches Business Unit, accepts the award in the “Drives for Battery Buses” category on February 4 in Berlin.


For even greater sustainability, ZF has partnered with the Munich-based development specialist in-tech. This company offers a retrofit service called e-troFit which upgrades low-floor diesel buses already in operation to a zero local emission type of drive.

Successful deployment worldwide
Unveiled in 2012, the AxTrax AVE has successfully proven itself in operation worldwide. In fact, ZF recently received volume-production orders for it from Moscow, London and major U.S. cities. In addition to its impressive drive performance – totaling 250 kW up to a maximum axle load of 13,000 kilograms – the compact design was also appealing. Since neither a conventional unit nor a universally jointed shaft are necessary for transmitting power, manufacturers now have more freedom to design the passenger area the way they want. They can add seating and standing room, for example, or provide for stepless entry and exit and even completely level aisles. 

System performance
In addition to the AxTrax AVE, ZF can also deliver the necessary hardware and software to optimally align performance, efficiency and the service life of the drive. This system solution reduces test and approval costs for the manufacturer.

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