ZF to manufacture 8-speed automatic transmissions for BMW’s hybrid cars

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 04 Apr 2019


ZF Friedrichshafen has received an order for its enhanced 8-speed automatic transmission from BMW.  The latest version of ZF’s 8-speed transmission – a technology which has been in production since 2009 - has been optimised by integrating an electric drive, which also includes a hybrid variant.

The new transmission generation will start series production in 2022 at ZF’s plant in Saarbrucken, the lead production facility for ZF’s automatic passenger car transmissions. The company also plans to start production of the technology at furthermore locations, including the USA and China in the future.

ZF's CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider said, "This business win is the largest single order in the history of ZF. When it comes to the electrification of passenger cars, in addition to pure electric drives, it confirms our strategy to focus on plug-in hybrids as an every-day solution and to develop attractive products in these areas.”

Optimised for electrification
The new 8-speed automatic transmission can be installed in almost all vehicle classes with a front-longitudinal drive configuration. A technical innovation of the upgraded transmission is the integration of the electric drive. "We have consistently optimised our 8-speed automatic transmission according to future e-mobility requirements,” explained Michael Hankel, member of the ZF Board of Management responsible among other areas for transmission technology and e-mobility. "With a modular construction using various starting elements, the new generation hybrid transmission offers a flexible solution which is suitable for all passenger cars – both conventional as well as electric.”

Hankel continued: “The order was based on the fact that the customer sees our technology as a sustainable drive solution for its vehicles which supports them in achieving CO2 targets. In addition, the possibility to easily change from one transmission variant to another that allows our customer the flexibility to react to market requirements. Alongside the significant CO2 savings potential, this high degree of flexibility is resulting in strong interest in our transmission. We are in a very promising discussion with other customers.”

"The order also reinforces the importance of our global production network," added Hankel. "Following the start of production in Saarbrucken in 2022, we will also manufacture this next generation transmission for further customers at our locations in Gray Court, USA, and Shanghai, China.”