Meritor to supply all-electric drivetrain for Peterbilt test trucks

Meritor announced Wednesday the company will supply all-electric drivetrain systems for two Peterbilt vehicle platforms through its alliance with TransPower. These include 12 Peterbilt all-electric Class 8 Model 579 day cab tractors and three Model 520 refuse trucks.

Meritor says it will supply high-efficiency and lightweight axles, drivelines and brakes that maximize system efficiency, extend range and increase payload. Electric drivetrain power and control systems, as well as batteries and accessories, will be supplied by TransPower, a California-based manufacturer of integrated drive systems, full-electric truck solutions and energy-storage subsystems. Meritor has a strategic investment in TransPower and is the exclusive commercial distributor of these systems.

The electric drivetrain systems used by these trucks is specifically tailored to the needs of drayage and refuse applications. The flexible design of the system allows it to be customized for many other duty-cycles and vocations, Meritor says.

“This collaboration with Peterbilt reinforces the viability of our advanced technology and electrified solutions that are adaptable for a wide range of applications,” says Jay Craig, CEO and president of Meritor. “We look forward to getting these vehicles on the road this summer.”

Meritor says testing will last approximately one year and is designed to prove out the ranges, operating hours and charging requirements of vehicles operating in real-world service conditions alongside conventional diesel-fueled trucks.

The 80,000-lb., short-haul Peterbilt 579 drayage trucks will support operations at ports throughout California, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego and Oakland. Two 520 refuse haulers will be tested by Sacramento County and a waste hauler will operate one truck.

The deployment of 12 Peterbilt 579 trucks is being funded by the California Air Resources Board and a consortium of California’s regional air quality districts, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and San Diego Air Pollution Control District. Funding for the Peterbilt 520 deployment was provided by the California Energy Commission.

New technology brand on the way

Meritor also on Wednesday introduced Blue Horizon, a new technology brand representing the company’s emerging platform of advanced technologies centered on electric drivetrain, efficiency and connectivity systems.

Meritor says products offered under the new brand will include integrated electrified solutions for Class 4-8 commercial vehicles across multiple vocations, including pickup and delivery, drayage/terminal tractors, transit and school buses, as well as linehaul and other heavy-duty applications.

“Blue Horizon signifies our commitment to evolutionary and revolutionary solutions for commercial transportation,” says. “With this new brand, we’re looking forward to the future of electrified drivetrains and to more innovations in the years ahead.”

Initially, Blue Horizon electric drivetrain systems will feature Meritor’s integrated eCarrier that utilizes an electric motor inside the axle to power the vehicle, replacing a conventional mechanical engine with an electric motor integrated into the rear drive axle, the company says. Meritor’s eCarrier will launch with the eAxle and eSuspension platforms to deliver power ranges of 150, 180 and 200 kW in each axle and peak power of 250 kW.

Rounding out the electric axle lineup is an eCorner module for medium-duty, pickup and delivery, and bus applications. Demonstrator vehicle testing is scheduled for this summer, the company says.

Meritor adds its consolidation of advanced solutions under a single brand reflects more than 20 years of technology leadership focused on delivering high-tech drivetrain solutions for our global customers.

“Blue Horizon represents a future that’s electric today and even more tomorrow,” Craig says. “These new solutions will have the potential to transform the industry while also enhancing Meritor’s value to OEMs and our standing as a leader in innovation and manufacturing.”

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