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ZF Plans $500 Million Investment, Brings Next Generation Mobility to Gray Court

Feb 06, 2024 10:00AM ● By David Dykes

(ZF Gray Court plant image. Photo credit: ZF)

ZF continues its pursuit of Next Generation Mobility across passenger car as well as the spectrum of light, medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles with a planned $500 million investment in its Gray Court, South Carolina, facility, company officials said.

The investment is expected to create 400 jobs, the officials said.

Offering everything from traditional ICE to e-mobility technologies, for both passenger car and commercial vehicle applications, ZF Gray Court is officially the company’s first North American flex manufacturing facility.

Officials said that since its inception in 2010, the story of Gray Court is one of continuous growth through the introduction of high quality and highly advanced technologies for the mobility industry.

“As the industries we serve evolve, so too does ZF Gray Court, which is once again at the center of mobility transformation,” explained ZF Board Member, Stephan von Schuckmann. “ZF Gray Court is our North American premier flex manufacturing facility – producing technologies for today and tomorrow, but also for both passenger vehicles as well as commercial vehicles. This site is our first ever to mirror the transition that the industry and the world is now navigating.”

Through the planned investment, ZF will add new product lines in Gray Court over the next several years, including the launch of the 8HP Gen4 PHEV already on the BMW 7 Series and X5.

Through PHEV technology, drivers are offered pure electric driving, and in addition, a highly efficient internal combustion system.

“For today’s drivers this means they can contribute to a greener planet while reaping the benefits of increased fuel economy without having to rely on a charging infrastructure – it’s really a win-win,” von Schuckmann added. “ZF PHEV transmissions are currently produced in Germany, but I’m excited to announce that for our North American customers, this product will be manufactured in Gray Court beginning in 2025, as part of our local-for-local strategy. However, this is just one part of our vision. ZF plans to enter the next phase of transformation, as we seek federal funding.”

Powerful electric motors are integrated into the transmission housing of the ZF 8HP Gen4, enabling pure electric driving performance of up to 160 kilowatts and a torque of 450 Nm – almost double the previous 8- speed generation.

“Depending on the battery dimensions of our customers, we can easily achieve an all-electric range of more than 75 miles with our latest-generation 8-speed plug-in hybrid, and further electric range means reduced CO2 emissions,” explained von Schuckmann. “The 8HP Gen4 PHEV’s efficiency means electric drives will be the main propulsion for plug-in hybrids in the future compared to combustion engines, and will significantly reduce the ‘range anxiety’ of many drivers on the road to electrified mobility. And if it should be a longer journey, then the efficient combustion engine supports the electric drive to reach the desired destination in a relaxed manner.”

Investing in a clean, safe and sustainable future ZF is embracing a sustainable future and has set a goal to be fully climate neutral by 2040. This includes not only the internal workings and outputs of the company, but also a commitment to helping the mobility ecosystem’s long-term sustainability with alternative powertrain configurations.

To support its sustainability goals, in 2020 ZF announced it will be dedicating research and development efforts toward hybrid and electric vehicle components and systems. It also established a strategy that includes reducing the use of products and materials that cause greenhouse gases, focusing on recycling, reuse and remanufacturing and Gray Court, officials said, is a shining example of those efforts.

 “Today we are recognizing ZF’s Gray Court is our North American center of manufacturing excellence,” said von Schuckmann. “Focused on advanced manufacturing, automation, training and sustainable initiatives, Gray Court is helping position ZF, and the industries we serve, for the future. And that future is bright as ZF has pledged an additional $500 million toward the launch of new sustainable technologies here at Gray Court.”

ZF is a global technology company supplying systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial technology.

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