US customers rely on new ZF PowerLine commercial vehicle transmission

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Testing PowerLine: The 8-speed automatic transmission, installed in a ZF test vehicle.
Renault Trucks

Great success for ZF in the US: The Group received several large-scale orders from North American vehicle manufacturers for its automatic 8-speed PowerLine transmission, including the largest individual commercial-vehicle-related order in company history. In 2023, production will start in Gray Court, South Carolina. ZF consequently is expanding its transmission plant, investing more than €150 million and creating 500 new jobs. 

After winning several major orders in the passenger car segment, ZF approaches new customers with a variant of its highly efficient 8-speed automatic transmission. “Thanks to PowerLine’s versatile technology, we can now build on its success also in the commercial vehicle segment,” says Wilhelm Rehm, member of ZF’s Board of Management and in charge of Commercial Vehicle Technology. “Following Europe and China, our commercial vehicle transmissions are now also present in the important North American market. Orders like this contribute to generating the revenue we need to invest in future-oriented technology and the transformation of our company.” 

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Substantial reductions in commercial vehicle fuel consumption, with shift quality on a par with premium passenger cars: PowerLine with its eight gears redefines the automatic transmission standard for medium-duty trucks, buses and coaches, as well as heavy pickup trucks.

With its modular design featuring different launch elements, PowerLine is the ideal solution for the medium-duty truck segment of up to 26 tons, buses and coaches as well as pickup trucks, that are particularly popular in the US. The future will also see an electric version of the transmission – as a mild or plug-in hybrid. The technical design behind PowerLine can help generate fuel savings of up to 10 percent. Furthermore, it allows gearshifts that are 30 percent quicker than automated transmissions. 

In October 2020, global PowerLine production started in Friedrichshafen, Germany, headquarter of ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Technology Division, where the transmission was developed. To be able to manufacture additional volumes for North American customers as of 2023, ZF relies on the know-how of its transmission plant in Gray Court, South Carolina. The company is therefore investing more than €150 million at the location, adding 500 new jobs. Currently, ZF employs about 2,200 associates at the plant that started operation in 2012. 

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As of 2023, PowerLine will be produced at ZF’s transmission plant in Gray Court, South Carolina, for customers in North America.

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