Features & Interviews

Five minutes with… Dr Holger Klein, CEO of ZF

13 July 2023 #Features & Interviews

Tell us about ZF?

ZF is a global technology company supplying systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial technology, enabling the next generation of mobility. ZF allows vehicles to see, think and act. In the four technology domains of Vehicle Motion Control, Integrated Safety, Automated Driving, and Electric Mobility, ZF offers comprehensive product and software solutions for established vehicle manufacturers and newly emerging transport and mobility service providers. ZF electrifies a wide range of vehicle types. With its products, the company contributes to reducing emissions, protecting the climate and enhancing safe mobility.

With some 165,000 employees worldwide, ZF reported sales of €43.8 billion in 2022. The company operates 168 production locations in 32 countries.

What about ZF’s new self-developed thermal management system for electric vehicles?

The new system not only offers a more compact design of the drive but can also increase the range of vehicles in winter by up to one third. In combination with an optimised electric drive train consisting of power electronics, motor and reduction gearbox based on 800-volt silicon carbide, the system sets new standards in compactness and weight. The newly developed powertrain software also makes a significant contribution to higher efficiency.

In the vehicle, the components of the electric driveline have been optimised and combined into a holistic system. The drive package has a 30 per cent lower overall weight and, in this way, together with thermal management, enables a torque density of 70 Newton metres per kilogram of drive weight.

Explain the latest organisational changes at ZF?

In view of the increasing speed and dynamic environment of change taking place in the automotive industry, ZF has also been optimising its organisation for several months: decision-making paths will be shortened, and processes made more agile to help the company be more responsive. ZF’s global orientation is already proving its worth: one example is the all-electric Steer-by-Wire steering system, for which ZF has received customer orders from all major world markets.

The cubiX chassis software or the first-generation 800-volt electric drive will also be used by automotive manufacturers from Asia, Europe, and America in their vehicles in the coming months.

And what about ZF’s new Chassis Solutions Division?

In addition to electromobility, ZF’s by-wire products as networked and electronically controllable braking, steering and damping systems are examples of the second major volume topic of the future: chassis technologies. The new unit bundles ZF’s entire chassis, steering and braking expertise. The Chassis Solution division offers all the hardware components needed to control a vehicle’s vertical, longitudinal and lateral dynamics – and also the associated networking in the form of hardware and software.

The unit already combines an annual turnover of more than 14 billion euros and will be a reliable and competent partner for our customers in all regions of the world. The launch of the new division is planned for January 2024. In the future, all mobility segments will benefit from the developments and know-how of this new ZF division – the commercial vehicle sector as well as industrial applications.

Our goal is to use technology to make the mobility of the future clean, safe, comfortable, and affordable – for everyone, everywhere.

Dr Holger Klein, CEO of ZF

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