ZAwheel next generation


Electric wheel hub drive for public service buses now even more powerful and with twin tyres

“We have taken on board the suggestions from local transport companies and bus operators and implemented these in the new version of ZAwheel”, says Peter Fenkl, Chairman of Ziehl-Abegg’s Board of Directors. The company is now presenting the second generation of the electric wheel hub drive for city buses at the world's largest bus fair in Kortrijk (Belgium).

The next generation ZAwheel incorporates many new features. As a result, Ziehl-Abegg has fulfilled the wishes of the bus operators for a twin tyre version. “We have developed ZAwheel from the aspect of minimal energy consumption and therefore clearly opted for the Super Single tyre”, explains Ralf Arnold, Managing Director of Ziehl-Abegg Automotive. The reason for this is that the Super Single tyre is more efficient as only two tyre edges need to be smoothed when rolling – on the twin tyres it’s four tyre edges. However, many operators traditionally rely on twin tyres throughout their fleet so they only have to hold stocks of one type of tyre in the warehouse. “That’s why we now offer both types of tyres”, says Arnold.

Ziehl-Abegg has also improved the performance of the wheel hub motors. So, the ZAwheel drive module is now available in two power settings: one with a maximum torque of 17,500 Nm and one with 9,000 Nm. In the past there was only one single power setting of 12,000 Nm. “This means we can meet the bus operators’ individual topographical requirements – whether it’s for flat terrain or mountainous regions.” In addition, because of the increase in the maximum torque to 17,500 Nm the motors can now be fitted to articulated buses with just one drive axle. The ultra-powerful drive is now available for immediate delivery, the lower power setting will follow in a second stage. “As part of this process of offering motors on a two-stage basis, we have also developed totally new wheel electronics”, underlines Arnold.

Ziehl-Abegg has also taken a step forward into the future with the control technology: the ZAwheel control unit has been added to the product portfolio of wheel hub drive, wheel rim and axle. Upon request, the company offers drive shafts and control technology from one single source. “This makes us a full-service provider for the entire power train” explains Arnold. During the course of the long-standing collaboration with bus manufacturers and public service operators, one complaint was repeatedly heard: there were too many component manufacturers involved in the drive train. “This gave us the impetus to develop our own control unit," explains Arnold. There is of course still the option for customers just to order the axle drive module.