ZF produces its 1,000th CeTrax lite electric CV drive, demand from Isuzu grows

Increase in demand shortly after start of volume production is led by Isuzu, which uses the ZF CeTrax lite electric drive to power its light Elf truck.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 27 Mar 2024 Views icon6654 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

After volume production of the CeTrax lite electric drive for light commercial vehicles started in April 2023, ZF has already produced its first thousand units. The ramp-up in volume production was steeper than planned because demand from Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer Isuzu has increased. The drive is used by Isuzu to power the latest generation its light distributor truck, the Isuzu Elf EV. Further volume production is set to start imminently this year.

CeTrax lite is an all-electric drive with a peak output of 150 kW that sits centrally in the vehicle frame – the space normally occupied by the conventional transmission in combustion vehicles. Isuzu has been supplying its ELF EV vehicles equipped with CeTrax to customers worldwide since October 2023.

As demand at Isuzu increased, production figures at Friedrichshafen are also on the rise. "We are proud to have met the needs and requirements of the market with our CeTrax lite. CeTrax lite is on its way to becoming a successful global product and is accelerating purely electric and locally emission-free delivery traffic," says Kleber Vinhas, Location Manager of the ZF Friedrichshafen plant. "At the same time, we are investing and preparing further volume production launches for customers with the CeTrax 2 dual, the next electric central drive from Friedrichshafen for heavy commercial vehicles, set to start production."

According to ZF, the electric central drive for light commercial vehicles continues the success story of its ‘big brother’ CeTrax, which went into volume production in 2020. The central drive, which is also produced at the ZF Friedrichshafen location, is mainly used in buses with orders from customers in South Korea, the USA, Australia, and Europe. With its high level of reliability, the robust central drive ‘made in Friedrichshafen’ has made a name for itself worldwide in the tough everyday life of public transport. In addition, the new CeTrax 2 dual electric central drive will be manufactured from Friedrichshafen from this year on.

A special feature of ZF's CeTrax concept is that the all-electric central drive is suitable for electrifying existing commercial vehicle platforms. In this way, manufacturers can expand their portfolio towards purely electric vehicles without having to make further significant alterations to their design platforms.

As the volume production of the ‘large’ CeTrax, which has also been manufactured in Friedrichshafen since 2020, shows, this concept is particularly attractive for manufacturers of city buses, as well as for special vehicles operating in ports and logistics centres. Electrification with CeTrax lite offers just as much potential for small delivery trucks, city buses or special vehicles, which are mainly used for the ‘last mile’ deliveries to consumers and therefore are perfectly suited to operate in low-emission zones of inner-city environments.

High level of added value
ZF states that it is able to generate a high level of production and added value for the CeTrax lite because many of its components will also be manufactured by ZF at other locations for final assembly in Friedrichshafen, including Schweinfurt and Auerbach. "An electric drive from ZF means that the hardware components and the software are optimally matched," adds Kleber Vinhas. "This makes CeTrax lite particularly efficient in practice."

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