The electrification of trucks and light commercial vehicles is coming, but not as fast as a lot of people—specifically the ones who have to think about clean air quality—might like. Yeah, the Tesla Cybertruck is cool and all but the last serious attempt to rival it (ahem, Nikola Badger) tanked ungracefully late last year. This means that the dream of an electric pickup is still a way off.
Magna, on the other hand, has worked out a way to change that, not by inventing the next influencer-heavy vaporwave product but by putting together the eBeam. The concept is pretty simple. Rather than try and reinvent truck architecture, the eBeam is, well, a beam. The motor-generator unit forms the rear axle of the truck so that it's scalable and provides the power for hauling/towing—a key reason, let's face it, for having a truck in the first place.
Tom Rucker, the president of Magna Powertrain, says that integrating eBeam to the axle was key. “It is a bold endeavor to electrify pickup trucks, whose owners demand the towing and hauling capabilities they are currently used to, and we’ve accomplished it with our eBeam technology. We know axles are core elements of a truck’s strength, and we are excited to have developed the first significant improvement to the solid beam axle in over 100 years.”
Magna say that the eBeam can deliver between 150kW and 250kW over three configurations; single motor on single or dual speed and a twin motor option with torque vectoring. Or even an all-wheel-drive solution featuring a front axle integration and software to manage the two MGUs.
Keep in mind, this solution is designed to transition pickup trucks and light commercial vehicles to hybrid or full battery electric powertrain systems, and not necessarily individual folks wanting to tinker with their trucks—plus it doesn't come with its own battery architecture, so it's not like a plug and play solution for the amateur EV transitioner. However, in the context of letting companies choose a simple way to add a hybrid or full EV option to their vans and trucks, it's really a potential breakthrough.
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