Magna's Proprietary 'eBeam' Axle Tech is a Novel Solution to Electrify Pickup Trucks
U.S. President Joe Biden has been pushing forward his administration's massive infrastructure plan that includes funding for the adoption of zero emissions green cars.
But full-size SUVs and pickup trucks are some of the best selling vehicle types on the market right now and the interest in electrified models, such as the new Ford F-150 Lightning, is at an all time high.
So automotive technology company Magna International developed a proprietary electric axle technology it claims is the quickest way to electrify the millions of gas-powered pickup trucks that are already on the road.
Magna developed a drop-in solid axle replacement which can be swapped out for traditional beam axles. It's called an "eBeam" and it has been designed to retrofit and electrify light commercial vehicles and help new electrified trucks reach the market faster.
The transmission and electric motor of the eBeam are directly installed on the solid axle assembly. With the help of this technology, automakers can electrify their existing models without making any major modifications to the vehicle's architecture.
Magna claims that its eBeam technology enhances the capability of pickup trucks or electric commercial vans. It's also compatible with both hybrid and fully-electric powertrains.
The eBeam uses the existing packaging space of the vehicle platform. The technology also helps retain the factory payload and towing capacity of the pickup truck. Customers do not have to upgrade a truck's brakes or suspension before installing the eBeam axle.
Magna first previewed its eBeam axle technology earlier this at CES 2021, which was held virtually this year due to the pandemic. During CES, Magna unveiled an electrified axle substitute designed for traditional ladder frame truck chassis designs, which underpins popular trucks like the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado.
For light commercial vehicles and pickup trucks that are manufactured on a large scale, a simple electrification solution like Magna's eBeam axle can help speed up the transition to electric mobility. It can also help automakers save capital, which otherwise would have been used to execute new integration strategies for electric powertrains.
Recently, the New York Times reported that automaker Toyota Motor Corp is trying to use its influence in Washington DC to delay EV adoption on a mass scale.
The Japanese automaker's reasoning is that a quick transition to electric mobility might be wasteful, as it doesn't take into consideration the millions of internal combustion engine vehicles currently on the road. However, Magna's e-axle technology offers an option for electrifying many of these models.
Magna's eBeam is available in multiple models with power outputs ranging from 161 to 335 horsepower depending on the application.
Customers or automakers can select from a single motor set up which is available with a single speed and two speed transmission or a twin motor setup, which gets a single speed gearbox with electronic torque vectoring.
Magna also offers several complete powertrain solutions incorporating an electric drive system at the front of the truck, including advanced software and controls for seamless integration.
Magna says it's already working with customers and aims to showcase the technology sometime later this year.
Two weeks ago, South Korean manufacturer LG Electronics finalized its new joint venture agreement with Magna that will develop e-powertrains and other components for electric vehicles. The new joint venture company will be called "LG Magna e-Powertrain" and will be based in Incheon, South Korea.
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