US vehicle supplier Meritor has been selected by Hyliion to supply its 14Xe electric drivetrain for the ERX hypertruck. Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors is also interested in electric drive systems from Meritor.
First, to the deal with Hyliion: The Hypertruck ERX (Electric Range Extender) is an electric truck concept unveiled in 2020 that combines an electric drive with a generator powered by natural gas to charge the battery. Hyliion expects the Class 8 truck (over 14.969 tonnes) to have a range of more than 1,000 miles or 1,600 kilometres. The battery-electric range for journeys through zero-emission zones is to be 40 kilometres; outside these zones, the natural gas generator is to generate electricity.
When it was unveiled in 2020, the ERX hypertruck was said to use an e-axle from Dana, however, now it comes from competitor Meritor. According to Meritor, they were selected as a “long-term partner” to supply the “14Xe ePowertrain” axle to Hyliion. The announcement does not mention technical data, the start of delivery or the financial scope of the deal.
Meritor has been building the 14Xe electric drive train since this summer at its plants in Asheville and Forest City in the US state of North Carolina. Customers can choose from a range of axles, brakes, transmissions and differentials to tailor the powertrain to the vehicle’s intended use. The electric motor itself can also be ordered with 150, 180 or 200 kW continuous output, with peak output of 250 kW in each case. Besides Meritor, Volta Trucks from Sweden, Lion Electric from Canada and Autocar Trucks from the USA have already ordered these drives.
It is possible that this customer list will soon grow: as Meritor also informs, Toyota’s commercial vehicle subsidiary Hino is currently evaluating and testing the manufacturer’s ePowertrain solutions – including the 14Xe. “We are pleased to work with Hino to accelerate the early commercial application of electric vehicles, which in turn will help further sustainability in the areas where these electric trucks will operate,” said Chris Villavarayan, CEO and president of Meritor. It does not say when Hino plans to complete testing or make a decision.
Meritor has taken a direct stake in another potential buyer of its electric drive systems: The supplier has invested in SEA Electric, a Los Angeles-based provider of e-utility vehicles. SEA Electric is delivering more than 500 electric commercial vehicles this year alone and plans to put more than 15,000 vehicles on the road by the end of 2023. These are commercial vehicles from US classes 3 to 8, i.e. from light to heavy commercial vehicles. The specific sum of the participation is not named in the announcement.
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