Over the next four years, a total of €800 million (Rs 6,437 crore) will be invested in Saarbrucken, the lead location of ZF’s transmission technology. With this investment, the location will be made fit for the transition from conventional to electric car drives and the share of hybrid drives in production will increase tenfold over the next few years – from five to 50 percent. ZF is investing more than €3 billion (Rs 24,139 crore) worldwide in new products and its production network for transmission technology.
Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen said, “We see the increasing market penetration of advanced hybrid drives as an opportunity, which in our view is much more than just a bridge technology. With longer ranges between 80 and 100 kilometers, they can complete the majority of all journeys electrically and thus help e-mobility to achieve a breakthrough more quickly.”
If the development towards pure electromobility progresses as currently forecast in several studies, sales and thus also the workforce at the Saarbrucken plant will, however, decline in the long term. In view of this development, ZF has launched a number of activities in Saarbrucken that are intended to significantly increase the plant’s international competitiveness. These include, for example, a whole series of IoT projects. At the same time, these initiatives use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide quick and valuable decision-making aids for employees and thus increase efficiency.
“The fact that these effects will only occur in a few years’ time gives us the opportunity to prepare for them today,” says Stephan von Schuckmann, head of ZF’s Car Powertrain Technology Division. “We want to prepare our employees for the mobility of the future with a wide range of training and qualification opportunities and more agile work structures.”