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MAHLE’s Acquisition Of German Transmission Design Specialist Enables Further Powertrain Efficiency Improvements

MAHLE Powertrain Ltd., a subsidiary of the Stuttgart-based MAHLE Group, expands its expertise in gear optimization with ZG-Zahnräder und Getriebe GmbH.

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MAHLE’s acquisition of the German transmission specialist ZG-Zahnräder und Getriebe GmbH (ZG) adds significant extra transmission expertise to MAHLE Powertrain, one of the leading independent specialists in high-efficiency propulsion systems in Europe.

ZG will become part of the MAHLE Powertrain family, and the acquisition complements perfectly the company’s dual strategy for optimizing the internal combustion engine (ICE) while focusing on new developments in alternative drive technologies.

“As drivetrains are increasingly integrated in pursuit of reduced emissions, efficiency gains come from increasingly focused refinements,” said Simon Reader, MAHLE Powertrain engineering director. “Gears can be overlooked, whether in the ICE, transmission or an electric driveline. Today’s high-torque hybrid powertrains demand exceptional gear refinement and durability, but there is a constant need to reduce component size and weight.

“This is where the ZG acquisition fits in. The ZG team has proven expertise in optimized gear design and transmission layouts. These can facilitate marked improvements in NVH, friction performance, packaging and weight reduction, leading to improved efficiency, especially for electric drives. Every aspect of our work, from full powertrains to electric drivelines, can be improved by good gear and transmission design, which is why ZG’s acquisition is an important development for us.”

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This acquisition is the company’s latest investment in future powertrain development facilities and the expertise of MAHLE Powertrain, which also has expanded its award-winning £8.3 million (approx. $10.9 million) Real Driving Emissions Center to help the automotive industry meet stringent future efficiency targets.

ZG-Zahnräder und Getriebe GmbH was founded as a spin-off from the Technical University of Munich in 2008 and today works closely with several major vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers. From program inception to prototype testing, the company has established a core competence in the development, optimization and production of advanced gears with particular expertise in electric- and hybrid-drive concepts. For example, it has developed and patented PlanGear, an application that can computer-generate and evaluate all relevant transmission structure options, including complex hybrid drives. This has the effect of accelerating gear development, reducing costs and enhancing performance, which could bring additional advantages as part of an integrated-drive system development program.

“This acquisition is another important step in the expansion of MAHLE Powertrain’s capabilities and further reinforces our position as an engineering-services provider across all powertrain technologies,” said Dr. Martin Berger, MAHLE Powertrain engineering services director.

In addition, MAHLE Powertrain Ltd. is further enhancing the capability of its new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) Center. The facility houses the U.K.’s only hypobaric testing equipment, which enables precise vehicle powertrain altitude testing, as part of a complete development solution for the automotive industry. It represents a crucial opportunity to ensure that all new vehicles comply with RDE test procedures and the new WLTP regulations ahead of final implementation in September 2019. The expansion of the Center’s electric-motor and battery-cell performance test facilities will further enhance MAHLE Powertrain’s unique, integrative vehicle-development competence.

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