ZF: Smart Urban Vehicle - This is where the future drives!

Clever ideas for an extremely agile city runabout

ZF presents the “city car” of tomorrow or at least the right components for it!

With the “smart urban vehicle”, ZF is demonstrating a city mobile of tomorrow, packed full of the expertise of the ZF Group. From the electric drive on the torsion-beam rear axle to a modified double-link front axle which, with a steering angle of up to 75 °, creates a turning circle that looks like the mobile is turning on the spot.

ZF combines the solid technical solutions with a new touch module in the interior, whose everyday suitability already provides a “want to have it now” effect with the “prototype”! And because you stand in front of the car with your mouth open while it is being steered from outside into the tightest parking spaces, we are about to learn something more about the “cloud solutions” of the future.

Future smart urban vehicle 03 ZF
Nothing is broken - 75 ° head angle look so spectacular.

75 ° steering angle

ZF has conjured up the “smart urban vehicle” from an Opel Agila. The “suv” will celebrate its public trade fair premiere at the IAA in Frankfurt in September. Until then, there is still time to take a closer look at the technology behind the “suv”. In order to build a “smart city car” from a simple small car, ZF completely removed the front axle and relocated the drive to the rear axle.

On the front axle works a special double wishbone axle with a possible wheel angle of up to 75 °. Thus, the originally 3.75 meter long Opel Agila can now convince with a turning circle of less than 7 meters. For a car with two rows of seats a real sensation!

The extremely strong steering front axle is reminiscent of the rear axle steering of a forklift and enables the “suv” to maneuver in the tightest of spaces.

Future smart urban vehicle 12 ZF
Twice 40 kW are enough for sprightly sprints.

Torsion beam axle-electric drive

The agility of the “smart urban vehicle” is supported by the ZF torsion beam rear axle, each with an electric motor near the wheel hub. A 40 kW electric motor is located at the end of the twist beam axle. ZF calls the system eTB (electric twist beam) and thus presents an easily adaptable electrification of the drive train, also for vehicles that were designed with a torsion beam axle in the lower vehicle segment for cost reasons. With up to 1.400 Nm, the system brings so much thrust into the small city car that one can definitely speak of a “jagged” and sporty driving behavior. Especially since the decoupling of the steered axle and the driven axle also ensures driving fun in the small car segment.

With the help of torque vectoring, ie the targeted braking or acceleration of a wheel, the system provides an additional increase in agility.

The power of the eTB baptized electric rear axle should be good for Tempo 150. After a few laps on the circuit, we definitely believe that the ZF technicians.

Cloud service & tablet operation

ZF has embraced the trend towards “remote parking” and, with the “smart urban vehicle”, is presenting a functioning solution for parking one's own vehicle using either a smartphone, smartwatch or tablet. But not just parking, in principle the car can be driven like a dog behind the owner with the tablet control. ZF calls it the “parcel bottom function”. Or you get out in front of your own house and tell the car that it can now head for your own garage. Everything via smartwatch. Hello future!

05-2_ZF_PreVision_Cloud_Assist_SUV
Cloud - Cleverness from the "cloud"

At this point, ZF'ler's vision of the future is far from over. 

ZF calls PreVision Cloud Assist a cloud-based service that calculates the optimal speed for a route. Imagine you are driving a country road for the first time and you have the feeling that everything is going a little faster here than at 100 km / h and you are driving a jagged boot. What they then lack is a “friend” on board who knows the route. ZF wants to implement such a function via “online service”. From the “average speeds” of other road users, “PreVision” calculates the “recommended” speed for the route conditions and informs you before you are surprised by a “curve” or a dangerous spot. The braking could be done in an electrified vehicle by recuperation. This is for safety and saves energy through clever recovery.

Urban, emission-free, clever, “cloud-networked” and then also partially autonomous, with the smart urban vehicle, ZF demonstrates the full range of competencies in-house. 

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