Lucas Roberto
65c538f6195331001e9e15e8 65c4e32531b736001e3f91f2dsc 0062

ZF scales up advanced PowerLine transmission

Feb. 9, 2024
ZF is scaling production of its versatile 8-speed PowerLine transmission for Class 5-8 vehicles in South Carolina. The PowerLine is also designed for use in hybrid vehicle concepts.

GRAY COURT, South Carolina—After ZF’s first PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission rolled off the production line in late 2023, the company expects to produce 200,000 this year, the German-based Tier 1 supplier announced at a media event at its plant here, south of Greenville.

According to ZF, the 8-speed automatic transmission delivers up to a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency and 30% faster shifting when compared to automated 6-speed transmissions.

Since 2021, ZF has invested $200 million to upgrade the plant. The PowerLine transmission is designed to meet Class 5-8 vehicle performance while shifting like a car. The supplier demonstrated the smoothness during media test drives following a press conference about the production plans.

The PowerLine also solidifies ZF’s Gray Court facility, which employs 1,900 workers, as the company’s first North American flex manufacturing site, supporting traditional ICE and e-mobility technologies for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The plant, now at over 1.6 million sq. ft., has grown by over 77% since 2010. 

Transmissions and the electric transition

To help ZF meet its 2040 climate neutrality goal, the company plans to bring its 8HP Gen4 PHEV transmission, a line already available in Europe, to North America in 2025. The 8HP can be used for conventional, mild hybrid, and hybrid plug-in commercial vehicles and can offer pure electric driving.

Upgrading the plant for the new line will require a $500 million investment, a necessary cost to keep up as the industry changes, according to Stephan von Schuckmann, ZF Electrified Powertrain Technology division Board Member.

“As the industries we serve evolve, so too does ZF Gray Court, which is once again at the center of mobility transformation,” he explained.

Von Schuckmann stated that the investment will contribute toward ZF’s current “local-for-local” strategy, allowing the company to circumvent supply chain holdups by producing 80% of the its North American content locally.

“Bringing manufacturing closer to our North American customers is an important initiative for our organization,” he concluded.

About the Author

Lucas Roberto

Lucas Roberto is an Associate Editor for Fleet Maintenance magazine. He has written and produced multimedia content over the past few years and is a newcomer to the commercial vehicle industry. He holds a bachelor's in media production and a master's in communication from High Point University in North Carolina.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...