Eaton, an American power solutions company, announced at the North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta plans to introduce a new 4-speed transmission for heavy duty electric commercial vehicles. TheTrucker.com reports that the transmission will be compatible with Class 7 and Class 8 commercial trucks. It is presently in the testing stage; Eaton hopes to launch it in 2022.
“Electric trucks and buses need to be able to go up hills and run at highway speeds when they are fully loaded,” said senior vice president, e Mobility, Scott Adams . “Our solution is to expand the range of the motor by adding an EV transmission. With this addition, the vehicle can perform well on hills and efficiently at highway speeds with a smaller, less costly motor.”
In developing the heavy-duty 4-speed transmission, Eaton hopes to make the relationship between different transmission functions—high efficiency at top speeds on the one hand, and higher torque at lower speeds on the other—more harmonious.
“The transmission is based on traditional, robust and efficient lay shaft architecture typical of AMTs but is designed specifically for electric commercial vehicle applications,” Adams told TheTrucker.com. “Unlike traditional commercial vehicle transmissions, Eaton’s 4-speed EV gearbox does not have a clutch, and shifts are synchronized using the traction motor. It also operates at higher speeds than its traditional internal combustion gearbox counterparts, and gears are optimized for typical electric motor performance and power curves for maximum efficiency.”
Ultimately, Eaton is producing a smoother transmission designed to accommodate a smaller, lighter and, when all is said and done, cheaper electric motor for heavy duty trucks.
Eaton’s roots go back to 1911. It currently employs nearly 100,000 workers in more than 175 countries.