The next brake systems innovation. In the rapidly evolving automotive industry, ZF stands at the forefront with its groundbreaking introduction of an entirely electric brake system. This innovation was unveiled during the Next Generation Mobility Day in Shanghai, heralding a new era for software-defined vehicles.
“Our purely electrically controlled braking system is a significant addition to our portfolio of networked chassis systems. With such by-wire systems, we are opening the door to a new era of vehicle control,” said Dr. Holger Klein, CEO of ZF Group.
The revolutionary brake system, born from the collaborative efforts of ZF’s development teams across China, the USA, and Germany, is set to cater to the global market. Its unique electro-mechanical design eliminates the need for a hydraulic system and brake fluid, marking a significant leap in automotive technology. Each wheel’s braking force is generated by an electric motor, making this a ‘dry’ brake system.
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Understanding ‘Dry’ Brake-by-Wire Systems
The term ‘dry brake-by-wire’ aptly describes this innovative system. Traditional hydraulic systems rely on fluid pressure to generate brake force. In contrast, ZF’s new system uses electric motors, transmitting brake signals from the pedal to the motors entirely electrically. This not only simplifies the braking mechanism but also enhances its efficiency and responsiveness.
Enhanced Safety and Efficiency
Compared to conventional brake systems, ZF’s brake-by-wire technology, akin to Integrated Brake Control (IBC), offers numerous advantages. One of the most significant is the potential for shorter braking distances. For instance, in automatic emergency scenarios, the braking distance at 100 km/h can be reduced by up to nine meters.
Furthermore, electric vehicles (EVs) equipped with this system can see up to a 17% increase in range due to more effective recuperation of braking energy.
Another key benefit lies in the reduction of residual drag torques – a common issue with conventional brakes due to slight contact between brake pads and discs. The new system virtually eliminates this, leading to reduced particulate emissions from brake abrasion, energy savings, and potentially increased EV range.
Cost-Effectiveness and Maintenance Advantages
The absence of a hydraulic system not only simplifies the brake system’s design but also reduces assembly and logistics costs during vehicle production. The system’s fewer components translate to lower complexity and cost. For vehicle owners, the benefits extend to the lifespan of the vehicle – without the need for brake fluid, the frequency and cost of servicing diminish significantly.
Despite the lack of a mechanical connection between the brake pedal and actuators, drivers can expect the same braking feel as that of a hydraulic brake. The system’s reliability is bolstered by the duplication of all connections and systems, mirroring safety protocols found in aviation’s by-wire systems.
Customization and Versatility in Brake Systems
With over half a century of experience in brake system development and production, ZF has established itself as a leading supplier, with over three billion brake components manufactured to date. This expertise allows vehicle manufacturers to tailor their braking systems according to their specific needs.
Options range from traditional hydraulic systems to the innovative electric system, including hybrid configurations combining both.
Furthermore, ZF’s holistic approach provides manufacturers with comprehensive solutions – from wheel brakes to parking brakes, including both hardware and software components.
Integrated By-Wire Systems: Steering, Braking, and Damping
ZF’s portfolio extends beyond braking. It encompasses a wide array of electronically controlled steering and damping systems, particularly suited for software-defined vehicles. These networked chassis systems enhance vehicle dynamics in terms of longitudinal, lateral, and vertical movements.
According to Klein, CEO of ZF, the integration of these systems improves various aspects of driving – from dynamic performance to stability at high speeds, and even vehicle range and efficiency. The synergy of these by-wire systems offers unprecedented control and flexibility in vehicle handling, setting a new standard in automotive technology.