ZF, a German automotive supplier with North American headquarters in Northville Township, has launched the industry’s first front electric park brake designed specifically for use in small cars.
With this solution, ZF says, car manufacturers can equip smaller vehicles with an advanced braking system and design interiors without the classic handbrake lever or park brake pedal.
ZF’s front axle EPB eliminates the components needed for manual park brake operation within rear drum- and disc brakes and requires only small modifications to the front axle calipers while integrating the necessary electronic components and software into an existing ESC control unit. This can further reduce vehicle system weight of the rear manual park brake system.
“ZF’s front EPB technology is a real industry innovation,” says Manfred Meyer, senior vice president of engineering for ZF’s Active Safety Division. “Even manufacturers of small and very small cars can now use the EPB with all its advantages. Car drivers benefit from enhanced safety and comfort.”
The elimination of the handbrake lever in the cockpit now is commonplace in upper, medium, and compact class vehicles thanks to electric park brakes. With ZF’s mass production of an electric park brake for smaller car classes, the manual brake lever can be replaced by a switch, creating more space in the interior and greater freedom for interior design. Production currently is taking place in South Korea and China.
“It’s a further example of how ZF adapts technology that has been successful in the market to specific vehicle and market requirements,” says Meyer. “In this way, we transfer the product advantages of the electric parking brake to other vehicle segments.”
In addition to the classic park brake function, the EPB also facilitates hill starts, for example, with the auto-hold function. In city traffic or traffic jams, the braking system also significantly increases driving comfort thanks to the stop-and-go function. In addition, the higher static load distribution on the front axle supports enhanced safety for parking the vehicle on slippery slopes.