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The ZF EcoLife and EcoLife 2 is an automatic transmission designed to handle the high torque outputs of newer city buses. The EcoLife was launched in 2008, anticipation of Euro 6 and EPA 2010 emission standards in Europe and North America, respectively. The EcoLife boasts lower operational costs as well as reduced drive noise with a new integrated torsional damper and helical gearing. With few filters and lower oil consumption, oil change intervals are increased. The EcoLife also manages drive programs in real time unlike the Ecomat Series which use a pre-determined drive program. The Ecolife is an entirely different design then the Ecomat featuring different gear ratios.

The TopoDyn program helps regulate normal or power drive programs more intelligently. TopoDyn selects the best shift points based on the gradient, thus maximizing fuel savings. On starting, the TopoDyn program selects the "Eco" mode. For inclines, it selects "Normal" mode. For strong inclines or declines, "Power" mode is selected.

In 2016, ZF introduced a start/stop feature. This automatically shuts off the engine when the bus comes to a standstill. As the driver moves their foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal, the engine and the transmission are able to immediately start. This function allows for a decrease in fuel usage.

In 2019, the EcoLife 2 was unveiled, and replaced the original EcoLife models.

In 2020 and 2021, ZF installed updates to buses in New York City which uses the Ecolife transmission which enabled the Topodyn software to realize an additional 6-14% savings in fuel.[1]

How it compares against the Ecomat

  • Gear ratios are different between the ZF Ecomat and Ecolife
  • Ecomat has gear whine throughout the gears - most notably 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and six gear vs Ecolife which has only has an very slight whine in third gear.
  • Ecolife is more fuel efficent
  • Ecolife uses helical gearing as opposed to spur gearing thus helps eliminating the whine to ensure quieter operation
  • Both have primary retarders meaning it is mounted before the gearing - which means is that the braking strength is dependent upon the gear ratio.
  • ZF Ecolife has an improved topodyn software which regulates the shift points depending on terrain vs Ecomat IV which has an very basic version of this.
  • ZF Ecolife on transit/coach only has an six speed version vs ZF Ecomat I/II/IV which were offered between four, five and six gears.
  • ZF Ecolife offers versions which can accept more engine input torque (2000nm or more) vs the Ecomat IV (1750nm).
  • Transmission (CAN) panel on the Ecolife has an blue neutral button and black buttons for the D, 1, 2, 3, R vs Red on the Ecomat and gray buttons D, 1, 2, 3, R

Contents

Models

EcoLife 2

[2]

Type Max. Input Torque Mass w/o oil 1 2 3 4 5 6 R
6AP1020B 738 lbf•ft
(1000 N•m)
761 lbs
(345 kg)
3.364 1.909 1.421 1.00 0.720 0.590 3.770
6AP1220B 885 lbf•ft
(1200 N•m)
766 lbs
(347 kg)
6AP1420B 1033 lbf•ft
(1400 N•m)
772 lbs
(350 kg)
6AP1720B 1254 lbf•ft
(1700 N•m)
827 lbs
(375 kg)
6AP2020B 1475 lbf•ft
(2000 N•m)
834 lbs
(378 kg)

EcoLife

Discontinued.

Type Max. Input Torque Mass w/o oil 1 2 3 4 5 6 R
6AP1000B 738 lbf•ft
(1000 N•m)
761 lbs
(345 kg)
3.364 1.909 1.421 1.00 0.720 0.615 4.235
6AP1200B 885 lbf•ft
(1200 N•m)
766 lbs
(347 kg)
6AP1400B 1033 lbf•ft
(1400 N•m)
772 lbs
(350 kg)
6AP1700B 1254 lbf•ft
(1700 N•m)
827 lbs
(375 kg)
6AP2000B 1475 lbf•ft
(2000 N•m)
834 lbs
(378 kg)

References

  • ZF EcoLife Brochure