Ziehl-Abegg grows to 448 million euros – electric drive for city buses close to breakthrough
"We have achieved another significant increase in turnover last year in difficult conditions", says Peter Fenkl, CEO of the Ziehl-Abegg SE. Even though the economic development in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) is slowing down, Ziehl-Abegg has succeeded in increasing turnover worldwide by six percent to 448 million euros (previous year 423 million).
Business in Europe was also well above expectations, as it was in America. "We have grown at a disproportionate rate despite the slow overall economic development", says Fenkl, making reference to Ukraine and Russia. During the course of business, the general economic situation was also reflected at Ziehl-Abegg Brazil, with turnover falling just below the previous year's level. Even turnover in Germany is increasingly shaped by the global influences coming from Russia and the slower growth in Asia.
"In spite of the numerous military conflicts and the economic crisis regions, the bottom line is that we can report a clear increase", says the Chairman. A large proportion of the turnover is being achieved with products that have not yet been on the market for five years. "The praise for this goes direct to our developers and engineers," says Fenkl. Regulatory targets for energy savings are prompting customers to take a closer look at performance and power consumption. We are also seeing this in China. "If you use quiet, efficient fans, fitted with modern drives, then Ziehl-Abegg is a must" emphasises Fenkl. The high quality represented by 'Made by Ziehl-Abegg' also scores highly in medical equipment and elevator drives.
The same applies to the area of electro-mobility in public transport. The gearless in wheel hub motor ZAwheel produced by Ziehl-Abegg is the world's most efficient drive system for city buses. Whilst lesser importance is attached to efficiency in many communities, noise pollution and emissions caused by diesel buses are seen as the greater problems. "First it was Peking, then New Delhi and now Stuttgart" says Fenkl, listing three major cities as an example of fine particle pollution alarm. "We are getting to the point at which bus manufacturers, local transport operators and politicians are urgently demanding the introduction of electric buses in city centres." For example, the Hamburg and Berlin Senates have decided that by the year 2020 they will only purchase zero emission buses. London has taken the same decision and five years after that date Paris wants all buses to be purely electric driven.
In spring 2015 the city of Münster in Germany made the start for quiet and pollution-free transport by ordering five electric buses; the engines came from Ziehl-Abegg in Hohenlohe. The purely electric drive sits directly in the wheel hub so it does not require either any transmission or differential, both of which only consume unnecessary energy. The current year in Europe will see a significant increase of clean and quiet electric buses fitted with ZAwheel.
The number of employees at Ziehl-Abegg rose to 3450 (previous year 3400); between them the five Hohenlohe sites employ a total of 1950 people (previous year 1900). The company traditionally does not give out any information on profits.