ZF to target smaller bus engines with PowerLine?

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PowerLine is an eight-speed automatic gearbox suited to smaller engines

ZF has raised the likelihood of offering a gearbox that is a more efficient alternative to the established EcoLife in buses that are lightweight and/or have four-cylinder engines.

PowerLine is an eight-speed automatic torque converter transmission that is able to handle up to around 1,000Nm of input torque.

ZF says it delivers shift quality on a part with gearboxes in premium passenger cars and that it is “ideal for lighter buses and those with smaller engines.”

PowerLine is currently at the development stage. Once productionised, it is expected to first enter the bus sector in South America. ZF does not rule out offering it in European markets and it is keen to speak to vehicle OEMs.

In lightweight and lower-power applications, PowerLine provides greater efficiency than a comparable EcoLife but is tempered by a shorter time between overhauls. A ZF engineer says that when used on urban bus work, a lifetime of around 400,000km is expected.