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October 29, 2019 3:15 PM, EDT

Eaton Debuts Heavy-Duty EV Transmission

Scott Adams Scott Adams by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

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ATLANTA — Eaton Corp. has unveiled a transmission specifically designed for electric heavy-duty commercial vehicle applications, and is targeting the unit to segments such as port drayage and pickup and delivery where it sees rising demand in North America, Europe and China.

The four-speed transmission, designed for Class 7 and 8 applications, is currently in the testing phase with original equipment manufacturers, and is set to debut in 2022, Eaton announced Oct. 29 from the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

“This is a purpose-built, heavy-duty EV transmission,” said Scott Adams, senior vice president for Eaton’s eMobility division, during a media event.

For example, he noted that a transmission designed for EV applications has to take a higher input speed, has a different duty cycle for the gears, and must be able to handle the peak torque electric motors can deliver from a standstill.

“This isn’t so simple as taking the gears off of an existing transmission and suddenly you have an EV,” he said. “There is a lot of engineering that goes into this so you really understand the EV applications.”

The transmission targets the challenge single-speed drivelines can face in addressing the sometimes contradictory requirements for high efficiency at top speeds and increased torque at launch and low speeds, Eaton said.

Fine-pitch helical gears are designed for smooth, low-noise operation, while the Eaton Transmission Control Unit’s shifting strategy delivers fast gear changes and maximum efficiency, which help extend range and battery life, it said.

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