ZF Releases New EV Braking System With Enhanced Energy Recuperation Capabilities

ZF's EV Braking System 7 photos
Photo: ZF Friedrichshafen AG
The German engineering giant has recently revealed a new, state-of-the-art braking system developed for Volkswagen’s ID.3 and ID.4, as well as future EV models.
The conventional hydraulic braking system is bowing out after being an integral part of automotive history for more than a century.

Like internal combustion engines, it’s being replaced by less mechanically complex, yet highly efficient electronics as we enter a new era of mobility. In this new age, such systems are not only required to stop a vehicle but also aid multiple safety features and provide energy recuperation for the powertrain.

Due to the push for electrification, many new companies have joined the industry in recent years, seemingly overnight, while established manufacturers such as ZF have also shifted their focus and successfully adapted to the latest requirements.

As part of their strategy to provide a wide range of components for current and future EVs, the Friedrichshafen-based company known for its widely used automatic gearboxes has developed an advanced brake control system already in use on VW’s ID.3 and ID.4 models.

VW ID\.3
Photo: VW AG
"We meet the trend toward electromobility with our entire range of technological solutions – not just in driveline technology," says Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF Group.

Benefiting from an optimized interface, ZF states that the system can be effortlessly incorporated into the vehicle’s electronic architecture and will also provide stopping power and efficient energy recuperation to all future EVs built on the Group’s MEB platform.

It replaces previously necessary mechanical components with software functions, which translates to compact units and reduced cost.

“The braking system for a battery-electric vehicle utilizes intelligent integration in a number of ways,” said Manfred Meyer, Senior Vice President for Engineering of ZF’s Active Safety division. “For example, we can eliminate the need for a mechanical locking mechanism in the drivetrain and keep the vehicle in park mode through software that controls this function within the ESC and redundantly in the Electronic Brake Booster unit. The brake system itself helps ensure that the car cannot move – this saves cost and results in less weight.”

The system is also fully compatible with advanced driver assists that require automatic emergency braking, a crucial feature for current and future safety requirements.

VW ID\.4
Photo: VW AG
From a technical standpoint, the brake architecture uses ZF’s electronic brake booster (EBB) for enhanced brake actuation and its latest generation EBC470 electronic stability control (ESC) to help stabilize the vehicle in challenging road conditions.

Additionally, the company claims that the ESC and EBB software is so well-calibrated and optimized that the difference in brake pedal feel is almost nonexistent to the driver during energy recuperation.

On VW’s MEB platform, the system is part of a software network stored in the stability control unit which meets the rigorous safety standards of the European road safety association (EuroNCAP).

Founded in 1915, ZF Friedrichshafen AG made a name for itself by providing innovative manual and automatic transmissions to a large number of carmakers. Apart from driveline solutions and braking systems, the company also manufactures steering systems or chassis components such as shock absorbers, cross-axis joints, or full axle modules.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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