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ZF opens new UK technical centre

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ZF, which supplies components to the automotive industry, has opened a new technical centre in Shirley in the West Midlands to complement its global network of research and development hubs, as well as its existing UK production facilities.

The centre, which covers 220,000 square feet and cost £70 million to build, was actually completed last year, but COVID-19 restrictions meant that an extra year was needed to recruit the necessary staff to make it fully operational. Nevertheless, the centre has already had some involvement with ZF’s recently announced next-generation e-motor, which requires 10% less raw materials to build and needs 10% less installation space while delivering greater flexibility, efficiency and power density.

While many still regard ZF as a producer of transmission systems, e-motors is becoming a vital part of the company’s business. Due to an increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) with all-wheel drive, it expects each EV to need an average of 1.3 e-motors. The company therefore projects that 61 million motors will be needed to build 47 million EVs by 2030.

The new centre will focus on researching and developing powertrains, braking and steering systems, aftermarket products and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It will also act as a global centre of competence for technological areas like servo systems and cyber penetration evaluation.

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