ZF introduces fuel-saving clutch-by-wire technology

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German engineering company ZF has introduced a new clutch-by-wire system that it says will help manufacturers cut fuel consumption.

The new clutch-by-wire system replaces conventional force transfer by pedal with an electric-motor-driven actuator unit and introduces the possibility of a fuel-saving coasting function to manual transmissions for the first time.

ZF says that the continuing popularity of manual transmissions and ever-tighter emissions regulations mean that automakers will have to find further efficiencies from conventional drivetrains.

“Fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions drop by up to 10%,” explains Jörg Buhl, head of actuator system design/engineering at ZF Friedrichshafen AG. “This figure results solely from automatic disengagement and engine switch-off in appropriate driving situations, known as the coasting function. Our clutch-by-wire system allows vehicle manufacturers to achieve these effects in manual as well as automated transmissions.”

The clutch-by-wire actuator comes with a powerful, brushless DC motor that actuates the clutch in place of a cable-controlled or hydraulic system. The integrated ZF CCU (clutch control unit) controls the system depending on the pedal parameters and the function requirements in each case. ZF says that the new system offers safety and comfort benefits such as start-up without operating the clutch pedal and an anti-stall function, as well as prolonging the life of the clutch itself.

September 29, 2015

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine + Powertrain of the Year Awards.

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