13.07.2020 | reading time approx. 5 min.

ZAwheel electric in wheel hub drive

When it comes to climate protection, Deutsche Bahn also relies on the ZAwheel electric in-wheel hub drive

…Despite all the doubters – it takes just one week to convert a ‘smelly’ diesel bus to what is now an environmentally-friendly, energy-saving electric bus, immediately transporting passengers quietly and pollution-free around the city. This feat was achieved by I SEE Electric GmbH on the GreenTEC Campus in Enge-Sande in Schleswig-Holstein, carrying out the conversion on behalf of the DB subsidiary Autokraft. Thanks to its development of an ingenious, technologically sophisticated conversion concept, old diesel buses, in this case a scheduled service bus model MAN Lion’s City (12 and 18 m), can be converted into a state-of-the-art bus that meets the regulations on climate protection.

The heart of the system supplied by ZIEHL-ABEGG

For the conversion, the engine, powertrain, tank and transmission were removed and the axle, battery packs, auxiliary units and control units newly installed. Despite all the doubters, the resourceful technicians achieved this fantastic result, working together with first-class suppliers such as ZIEHL-ABEGG which supplied the heart of the system, the ZAwheel axle drive module (highly efficient gearless electric wheel in hub drive). In Niebüll, Schleswig-Holstein, the newly converted DB regional bus will soon be seen travelling along various routes, passing ‘cleanly’ through every climate zone. The schedule service bus, gleaming with new technology, offers a range of up to 250 kilometres. The bus is charged up conveniently overnight at the respective depot.

The ZAwheel axle drive module
in two versions:
with the ADVANCED version as standard.
The BASIC version with reduced power for travelling on flat terrain

The new ‘climate protectors’

The whole forward-looking project originates from the “PilUDE” pilot project which is funded by the federal and state [Länder] governments. The project receives support in the form of European Union funding – the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – the Federal-State Joint Task “Improvement in the Regional Economic Structure” (GRW) and state funds aimed at promoting economic and regional policy in Schleswig-Holstein.
The application of this new system of converting old diesel buses into ‘mobile climate protectors’ offers good prospects for the creation of clean cities both today and in the future. And that’s not all. ZAwheel also addresses the question of energy saving as the power from the sustainable, high-tech electric in wheel hub drive is delivered directly to the heart of the action, on the wheel hub. This prevents any energy being wasted and avoids emissions, consequently reducing operating costs. Noise pollution is also dramatically reduced by 90%. Further conversions are planned according to information provided by Deutsche Bahn. The objective: to convert diesel buses to electric drive in order to increase the number of emission-free cities, at a cost of investment less than that for the purchase of new buses.

Kiel: Successful presentation of an OLD (diesel) to a NEW, converted electric bus to politicians, business and the press on the 11th June, respecting the rules on social distancing due to the corona virus.

Press throng at the presentation of the converted old diesel bus into a new electric bus, equipped with the environmentally-friendly ZAwheel in wheel hub drive technology.
Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister for Transport, Labour, Technology and Tourism, Dr. Bernd Buchholz, as well as the Minister for Energy Transition, Agriculture, Environment, Nature and Digitization, Jan-Philipp Albrecht were full of praise and took the opportunity to join in the test drive. A true project for the future!

Frank Klingenhöfer, CEO DB Regio AG (on the right in the photo), together with Minister Jan-Philipp Albrecht (centre) and Dr. Arne Schneemann, Head of DB Regio Bus Nord (on the left in the photo), is pleased to take delivery of the new environmentally-friendly electric bus. This represents a big step forward towards an energy-saving future.