ZF has opened its new Schweinfurt facility that will start volume production of hybrid modules in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Currently, ‘release samples’ are being produced in a new production hall at the ZF Sachs location.

Mercedes-Benz will be the first customer when volume production starts and ZF is the first European automotive supplier to produce such modules in bulk.

The modules will be sold under the product name DynaStart. ZF said it had eight development projects for four vehicle manufacturers under way for production launches between 2008 and 2012.

Initial annual volume is 35,000 units but this can be extended to 200,000, produced by 50 employees.

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The electric motors were developed specially for integration into the driveline and are ideally suited for parallel hybrid drives. This concept allows for 30% fuel savings and emission reductions, depending on whether the vehicle is equipped with a mild hybrid or a full hybrid system.

With the start/stop function, the combustion engine switches off during standstill, the electric motor restarts the vehicle, and the combustion engine is not activated until the optimal engine speed is attained. The electric motor is also capable of gaining extra power through vehicle braking. The high-torque module also supplements the combustion engine during acceleration.

Depending on the application and customer requirements, ZF can produce hybrid modules  with capacities between 10 and 100 kW and a maximum torque of 100 to 1,000 Nm. In the mild hybrid version, the DynaStart allows for start/stop operation as well as recuperation.