With the electrification of the global automotive industry, German auto parts manufacturer ZF (ZF) has set its sights on software development. The company is known for its chassis and drivetrain component series, including transmissions and electric motors, as well as electronic sensors, and is now expanding its software capabilities. “In the future, the combination of hardware and software, as a complete system supplier, will be the key to success,” Sascha Ricanek, vice president of ZF Motorsport Engineering and general manager of ZF Motorsport Engineering Co., Ltd., in an interview with OurIndia Express.
- ZF uses Formula E experience to build software functions
- Provide hardware and software solutions for car manufacturers
- Electric two-wheeler market segment witnesses ZF’s concerted efforts
Cooperation between ZF and Mahindra Motorsport
“As a hardware supplier for more than 100 years, entering the software development field is a challenge for us,” Ricanek said. This is where ZF and Formula E team work together- Mahindra Racing – Come in.
ZF provides the entire drive system for the Indian racing team, including electric motors, gearboxes and electronic equipment. “We are very happy with the cooperation with Mahindra because we get feedback directly from the track and give feedback to our development department, which is very helpful,” Ricanek commented.
Improve efficiency through software
Speaking of the company’s focus on the developments in Formula E, Ricanek said: “In the final analysis, everything is related to efficiency.” He mentioned that it is important not only to increase efficiency when accelerating, but also to recover when the driver lifts or brakes. Time is also important. “This is what we learned in the new power system for Mahindra, where we have a single-stage drive shaft with fewer mechanical parts. So we have less losses. This is a great help in improving efficiency.”
However, Ricanek added that there are many things that can be done besides hardware intervention. “We understand that software is becoming more and more important.”
Since the hardware has been frozen and certified in the next season, ZF realized that software can help it achieve some key efficiency improvements and push boundaries further. “From one race to another, we are studying different tracks, how our drivers enter the track and where we can use the software to set up and optimize efficiency,” Ricanek said.
These are experiences that companies can even translate into roads. “When you make predictions while driving, you can even see this in a road car, such as looking for downhill or uphill or traffic lights. As a driver, the way you interact with the car is very important, and the same applies. In Formula E.”
Therefore, ZF plans to use its software expertise to better cater to automakers. “We know that our hardware components are the best, so we also have a responsibility to advise OEMs on the system,” Ricanek said.
ZF’s interest in the field of two-wheelers
Sascha Ricanek, vice president of engineering for ZF Motorsports: ZF is vigorously entering the field of two-wheelers, because we think this is a basic part of the last mile concept.
Commenting on the partnership between ZF and Mahindra Racing, Ricanek mentioned: “Yes, we are in talks to expand this cooperation.” He further hinted at the transfer of knowledge from the race to the road.
“We stay in close contact and look forward to working more closely at the moment, based on what we have learned in Formula E. In the future, there will be a very interesting area. It may be us together, or some sub-Mahindra brand, which is a two-wheeler segment. Market,” said the owner of ZF Motorsport Engineering.You may remember that Mahindra has passed Peugeot motorcycle brand fully acquired in 2019.
Ricanek continued, “We (ZF) are vigorously entering this market segment because we believe that two-wheelers are a fundamental part of the last mile concept. We are already providing electric bicycle motors and also want to enter (electric) motorcycles Car field.”
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