With "multiple" North American customers on board to offer ZF's PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission in medium-duty commercial vehicles, the company is preparing to build them in the U.S.
ZF announced it's investing $200 million in commercial vehicle transmission manufacturing facilities at the company's facility in Gray Court, South Carolina.
Although it hasn't yet named the OEMs, ZF said in the announcement that “multiple” North American customers have signed multiyear contracts for the new transmission. The PowerLine automated transmission is designed for medium-duty commercial trucks, buses, and heavy-duty pickup trucks, and is prepared for mating with mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The additional production line at ZF Gray Court will result in more than 500 American jobs, the company said in a statement.
"ZF is a 106-year-old technology leader that has been in the U.S. for many decades, and this investment in U.S. manufacturing of sustainable driveline technology further proves our commitment to the North American commercial vehicle market," explained Martin Fischer, president of ZF North America, in the news release.
PowerLine Designed to Deliver Lower TCO for Medium-Duty Fleets
The PowerLine transmission is based on ZF's 8-speed automatic transmission design, which provides maximum gear ranges with fewer moving parts, reduced friction and less fluid. Minimal maintenance, fuel efficiency potential in the double digits, and highly integrated shift algorithms that promote up to 15% enhanced acceleration performance, all lead to lower cost of ownership, according to the company.
"ZF PowerLine proves equal, but in most cases, higher performance and efficiency than other transmissions with 9 and 10 speeds," explained Christian Feldhaus, director, commercial vehicle driveline technology, North America, ZF. "With its modular design, PowerLine is prepared for mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, making it a true technology bridge to future mobility."
ZF began production of the PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission at its global headquarters in Friedrichshafen, Germany, at the end of 2020 and made its first supply to North American customers in 2021. In 2023, volume production will begin in the U.S. and will exclusively serve the North American market.