The next generation of the market-leading bus and coach transmission, the ZF EcoLife 2, will shortly arrive in Oceania, featuring a robust light-weight design and further improvements to fuel efficiency.
Since its global introduction in 2007, the first generation ZF EcoLife six-speed automatic transmission has found acclaim the world over for efficiency, performance, noise characteristics and retarder braking, with the ZF EcoLife 2 delivering further refinements to the package.
With a focus on lowering operating costs and emissions, the second generation of the EcoLife is set to feature an increased torque allowance of up to 2000Nm for city bus use, whilst still providing further weight and fuel savings, all in an even more highly developed platform.
An EcoLife 2 option for coaches will cover an engine torque range between 1,700 to 2,800 Nm.
“It’s exciting that the EcoLife 2 bus and coach transmission is coming to Oceania,” said Shane Trenbath, ZF Services Australia Technical Services Manager.
“The first generation EcoLife has proven itself in our tough local conditions, so for this latest generation to be more refined, more robust, lighter and more economical, it will be very popular in the marketplace.”
Introducing EcoLife 2: the Next Generation
With EcoLife 2, further fuel savings of up to three per cent will be available when compared to the first EcoLife generation.
The unit features numerous technical refinements that make it lighter, more efficient, more robust, and easier to maintain.
A torque converter with a new torsional damper enables fast and smooth shifting, and provides the EcoLife 2 with its stop-start function.
Another innovation in the EcoLife 2 is the cooling concept. The stainless-steel heat exchanger mounted behind the transmission is now triple-ducted, integrating the transmission cooling system and eliminating the requirement for an additional housing. This results in weight savings of around 10 kilograms, and improved ease of maintenance.
Further advantages of the EcoLife 2 come from the transmission control system, which enables a coasting function that contributes to fuel savings, with the system customisable to specific engine characteristics, while enhanced diagnostics are available via integrated telemetry.
The system also features variable idle speeds, which enhances several transmission functions under different circumstances.
The EcoLife Legacy
From low life cycle costs, fuel consumption savings, to savings on service brake component longevity, plus a host of usability and comfort advantages, the ZF EcoLife is in a class of its own.
At the heart of the efficiency savings is the six-speed configuration, which keeps engine revs low throughout acceleration. This is especially noticeable at speeds less than 20km/h when setting off, with two low ratio gears utilised, which provides a fuel consumption advantage of up to 10% in city applications when benchmarked against other transmissions which feature fewer overall gears.
Furthermore, the integrated ZF Primary Retarder system supports high braking effort which, proportionally, continues to apply braking force until the bus is almost stationary.
This characteristic of the ZF Primary Retarder significantly reduces the demand on the vehicle’s service brakes, meaning lower lifecycle costs for the operator.
Another feature of the transmission is its dual cooling system, with its transmission and retarder heat exchanger limiting excessive heat, which subsequently extends oil change intervals.
In recent years, the transmission system received a mid-life rework, with the addition of a stop-start ready function, as well as new control software, named TopoDyn Life.
Factoring in prevailing driving conditions, the ZF TopoDyn function selects the best shifting strategy for the upcoming topography while also adjusting braking force, which can reduce fuel consumption by up to five per cent.
Of growing importance to the bus and coach fleet operators, passengers and the general public is the desire for quieter buses. EcoLife’s low-noise characteristics have been proven to yield reduced noise pollution, with the transmission enjoying a noticeable advantage over the competition, both inside and outside of the vehicle.
Beyond the Transmission
ZF Services in Oceania fully supports all of the systems and components they distribute in the local marketplace for buses and coaches, including the ZF EcoLife 2 transmission, driveline, steering, chassis and electronic components, plus electric drive systems.
Included in this backup is a complete range of fully synthetic lubricants, with a range that has been specifically developed for the EcoLife family of transmissions.
Suitable for both hot and cold climates, ZF EcoFluid A Life® offers extreme thermal stability, while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, prolonging the service life of the transmission.
Also available is ZF Ecofluid Life Plus®, which thanks to its optimised viscosity and additives enjoys fuel savings of up to 1.5 per cent, as well as reduced operating and maintenance costs, and improved shift comfort.
ZF Services in Oceania makes available to its customers comprehensive exchange stock in addition to a thorough service and overhaul offering for EcoLife transmissions from its fully equipped workshop in New South Wales or alternatively through our comprehensive service network.
Furnished with all of the latest diagnostic tools and factory-trained technicians, the technical team can assist with the servicing needs of bus and coach fleets big and small.
Rounding out the offering to ZF’s Australian customer base is a 24/7 technical support service desk, which can be contacted via 1300 ZF TECH (1300 93 8324).