Meritor, in consortium with its partners Danfoss Editron and Electra Commercial Vehicles, has announced that it is the recipient of the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s (APC) Core Competition Program in the UK to partially fund the design and development of Meritor’s 17XeTM electric powertrain system for heavy-duty electric trucks and buses equipped with a single drive axle.
«With this award, our consortium will develop a game-changing electric powertrain for heavy-duty 4×2 and 6×2 vehicles up to 44 tonnes without wheel-end reduction and up to 65 tonne vehicles with wheel-end reduction», said Chris Villavarayan, CEO and President, for Meritor. «This technology will provide commercial vehicle OEMs with the optimal solution to meet EU 2025 CO2 reduction targets and enable Meritor to significantly expand its Blue Horizon technology portfolio brand into Europe».
Meritor Consortium: the EPIC Project
The EPIC (Electric Powertrain Integration for heavy Commercial vehicles) Project «will provide a revolutionary solution to commercial vehicle OEMs, enabling them to meet global CO2 reduction targets by increasing efficiency, reducing weight, lowering cost and unlocking longer range than existing solutions on today’s market», stated Jeff Herrin, Vice President of Research and Development at Danfoss Power Solutions, the Danfoss business segment that includes Danfoss Editron.
More into details, each EPIC consortium member will each play a critical role in building and validating four different chassis. Meritor will be in charge of the overall integration of motor, inverter, transmission and carrier into the axle housing to enable packaging in existing vehicles, also transmission and geared carrier development and integration, transmission controller and software development, lightweight brake development, system validation and supply chain selection and development.
Danfoss Editron is expected to develop and integrate electric motor and inverter, while Electra Commercial Vehicles will be in charge of mechanical and controls integration of battery-electric chassis.
Meritor’s 17Xe ePowertrain system
Meritor’s 17Xe ePowertrain system will deliver up to 430 kW of continuous power with a 800-volt rated electric motor for heavy trucks and buses in 6X2 or 4X2 configurations. The integrated system – which is suitable for full electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, as well as series hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations – provides efficient packaging designed for short wheelbase trucks, optimized gearing for energy regeneration, and a wide range of ratios. It will be designed to drop into existing chassis with minimal to no modifications to the suspension or frame.
EPIC will deliver zero CO2 emission potential for commercial vehicles, and other applications, operating in towns and cities across the UK. As part of this program, Meritor will create a European Centre of Excellence for eMobility in Cwmbran, South Wales, and Danfoss Editron will create an Innovation Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The supply agreement with Volta Trucks
Meritor had also recently announced it has entered into a three-year supply agreement with Volta Trucks, a London-based electric commercial vehicle startup. Meritor will supply Volta Trucks with its Blue Horizon 14Xe integrated ePowertrain.
Meritor’s 14Xe all-electric, fully integrated, commercial electric powertrain for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles will be equipped on the Volta Zero, which Volta Trucks introduced in September 2020. This purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle, designed specifically for inner-city parcel and freight distribution, is anticipated to go into production in 2022 in the UK.