Meritor today 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 17Xe™ electric powertrain system for heavy-duty electric trucks and buses equipped with a single drive axle.

Meritor, in consortium with its partners Danfoss Editron and Electra Commercial Vehicles, submitted the EPIC (Electric Powertrain Integration for heavy Commercial vehicles) Project.

‘With this award, our consortium will develop a game-changing electric powertrain for heavy-duty 4x2 and 6x2 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.’

Jeff Herrin, vice president of Research and Development at Danfoss Power Solutions, the Danfoss business segment that includes Danfoss Editron, commented: ‘We’re thrilled to be part of this powerhouse team that is joining forces to develop a next-generation, zero-emission electric powertrain. EPIC 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.’

‘Electra is excited for the opportunity to be part of this UK-based electrification program as it transitions toward a net-zero future,’ said Sid Sadique, CEO and president, Electra Commercial Vehicles.

‘With range extension being a critical factor in the adoption of commercial electric vehicles, we can’t wait to get started developing an efficient drivetrain solution with more battery space.’

Each EPIC consortium member will play a critical role in building and validating four different chassis:

Meritor: 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: Electric motor and inverter, development and integration.

Electra Commercial Vehicles: Mechanical and controls integration of battery-electric chassis Technology.

Meritor’s 17Xe ePowertrain system will deliver up to 430kW 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.

Danfoss Editron’s electric motor is based on a patented architecture and thermal management methodology which exceeds the APC’s 2035 Roadmap targets for power-density. It also means that only one motor is required, a significant step forward in heavy-duty ePowertrain design, with most competitor products needing two motors to meet power requirements. Only requiring one motor is seen as a step-change in the industry, as it reduces parts, weight and cost while improving reliability.

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.

This project will create jobs in both Europe and the UK through the two new centres and future manufacturing capability.