ZF, BMW, Infineon develop hybrid transmission with built-on power electronics

April 08, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Transmission technology company ZF Friedrichshafen and carmaker BMW have launched a research project aiming at an integrated solution for hybrid components. Project goal is a design that brings the control and power electronics unit as close to the transmission as possible. As a result, production and servicing of hybrid vehicles would be much simpler.

While the components for electric driving and energy recuperation have already been integrated in transmissions for parallel hybrids, control and power electronics hitherto are physically located at different places within the car. ZF and BMW now have launched the research project "Electric Components for Active Transmission" which aims at a design that integrates the electronics with neutral space requirements. Besides the two originators, Infineon, passive component manufacturer Kemet and the Chemnitz Technical University are also involved in the project.

A precondition to reach this goal is a reduction in the size of all components. In addition, the high temperatures inside the transmission require a different cooling concept. Such an integration of electronics unit and transmission would result in a number of benefits, ZF said. These include reduced cabling efforts and a simplification in the system interface. In addition, tier ones such as ZF would be able to offer vendor-independent and platform-spanning pre-production of the electronics units. Also, this would simplify production processes for the OEMs. Plus, the power electronics unit would simplify workshop service since it will be pluggable.

A prototype of the 8-gear transmission with built-on power electronics unit is displayed at the Hannover trade fair.