Q&A: Dr. Juergen Greiner

ZF's head of development for passenger car transmissions explains what the future holds for the technology

As emissions targets become stricter how will transmission technologies develop to meet these challenges?

Electrification of the driveline is a significant lever for ZF to further reduce CO2 emissions in road traffic. Thus, apart from performance, efficiency and maximum comfort, mainly hybridisation is in focus when developing the next transmission generations.

What impact will changing test cycles – WLTP and RDE – have on transmission technologies?

Efficiency is the biggest driver of development – independently from test cycles.

Electrification – whether 48V systems, full-hybrids or plug-in hybrids – will be important to OEMs in order to meet efficiency targets, but what impact will it have on transmission systems?

We do not only want to replace the internal combustion engine by an electric drive in many driving conditions, but also want to integrate it as intelligently and efficiently as possible. Integrated electronics as well as an intelligent drive management embedded in driver assist functions are necessary to achieve this. The integration of the electric drive into the available installation space is particularly challenging since this space was exclusively reserved for the transmission up to now. In this respect, we focus on modular transmission construction kits that enable optional hybridisation right from the start.

What impact will electrification have on manual transmission development – do you think this technology is likely to disappear eventually in mature markets?

Yes, but not only due to electrification. Thanks to intelligent shift strategies, automatic transmission systems are not only more comfortable and faster than manual transmissions, but also significantly more efficient. In vehicles with a longitudinal drive, manual transmissions are already an exception. In vehicles with front-transverse drive, however, manual transmissions will continue to have high market shares on a worldwide level due to cost reasons. Nevertheless, the share of automatic transmissions is also on the rise here.

tags: ZF Transmissions