Latest ZF EcoLife delivers 10.5mpg in double-decker trials

Double-decker buses equipped with the ZF EcoLife gearbox that incorporates the latest technology have delivered average fuel returns of over 10.5mpg in trials, the German manufacturer says.

The unspecified vehicles in the exercise have had their consumption measured by both ZF’s own cloud based OpenMatics system and a separate monitoring platform used by the operator. The two products are “accurately comparable,” says ZF. That validates the results.

A double figure return compares well with around 9mpg from a standard vehicle of a similar set up, ZF continues.

Fuel consumption improvements have been generated via the use of maturing technologies, the manufacturer says. The EcoLife has “exceptionally controllable” stop-start functionality and that fundamental has potential to be developed further in the future.

An optimised set of ratio steps helps to keep engine speeds down and the TopoDyn gearbox control software further contributes to the fuel-saving proposition. Those elements also deliver a reduction in noise levels.

Additionally, the gearbox’s existing hydraulic system has been adapted in the second-generation EcoLife to exploit the pressure stored in the primary retarder oil accumulator.

Head of Commercial Vehicle, Manager ZF Aftermarket David Wakeling says: “This is an incredible achievement for our EcoLife transmission. Fuel that is used directly relates to the bottom line of any operator. It’s therefore important to measure consumption this way to achieve accurate and realistic results.”

The circa 16% saving delivered by the EcoLife equipped with ZF’s latest technology equates to a reduction in fuel spend of around £75,000 per annum in a medium-sized operation with up to 150 buses, the supplier says.