November 5, 2019 1:00 PM, EST

Meritor Offers New e-Axles for Global Market

Also, Friction Material and Air Disc Brake
Meritor EX+LS Meritor displays its new EX+ LS air disc brake at NACV in Atlanta. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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ATLANTA — Meritor Inc. announced it expanded its electric drivetrain business — including a partnership in Brazil with Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus — and developed friction material with reduced levels of copper ahead of the regulatory deadline, launched an air disc brake package and enhanced certain axles.

It discussed its products at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show Oct. 29.

Meritor CEO Jeffrey Craig


Speaking of its electrified drivetrains, Meritor CEO Jay Craig told Transport Topics, “We are trying to evenly distribute them throughout our business in all regions of the world. I’d say that is a very direct strategy of ours. We are trying not to concentrate all of our new business. We are a global brand.”

He said green zones requiring zero- or near-zero-emissions vehicles are emerging worldwide.

“The government in New Delhi just announced its goal to have a green zone by the end of the next decade. So I think it would be a mistake to just focus on North America,” he added.

Craig said North America was, however, where most of Meritor’s e-axle prototypes have been developed.

“That was really because TransPower is located in San Diego,” he said. “In the early years of development, we wanted the teams to be very close together.”

In 2017 and 2019, Meritor invested undisclosed amounts in TransPower, which supplies integrated drive systems, full electric truck solutions and energy-storage subsystems to manufacturers of trucks, school buses, refuse vehicles and terminal tractors.

In Brazil, VWCO plans to deliver 1,600 11-ton Classes 4-5 e-delivery trucks, equipped with Meritor’s 12X drive axle with eOptimized gearing, starting in 2020. The trucks were ordered by Brazilian beverage company Cervejaria Ambev and will represent one-third of its fleet by 2023.

The vehicles will adopt the 12Xe electric powertrain as it becomes commercially available in 2021. The electrification project is one of the largest of its kind in the world, according to VWCO. A test vehicle, which has delivered beverages in São Paulo for a year, had a range of almost 120 miles between charges.

The 12Xe powertrain’s modular design uses many of the same components as Meritor’s 14Xe full-electric powertrain now undergoing testing with fleets, according to the Troy, Mich.-based company.

The 12Xe powertrain expands Meritor’s electric coverage into Classes 4-7 with wheels as small as 17.5 inches.

Meritor also developed its 17Xe powertrain that is packaged to fit into the rails of 4×2 trucks. In Europe, applications include 44-ton heavy-duty longhaul trucks, medium-duty 27-ton refuse vehicles, 19.5- and 26.5-ton intercity buses and 26.5-ton coaches. It also will fit 40- and 60-foot city buses in North America.

Meritor EX+LS

Meritor's EX+ LS air disc brake by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Meanwhile, Meritor is offering N-type brake friction material for a range of gross axle weight ratings. The material meets new laws taking effect in California and Washington that require lower copper content in brake pads by 2025.

Brakes sold in both states cannot contain more than 5% copper by weight beginning in 2021 and no more than 0.5% copper in 2025.

The company also debuted its single-piston EX+ LS air disc brake for linehaul and trailer applications — after more than 300 lab tests and more than 1 million miles of road tests. The new air disc brake is designed and validated to the same taper wear criteria as a twin-piston brake.

New axle enhancements include: the 14X HE linehaul tandem drive axle, the new RT160 HE axle for heavy-haul and vocational applications and the MFS+ 14,000-pound front nondrive steer axle, which Meritor described as “the lightest 14,700-pound front nondrive steer axle in North America for linehaul and vocational applications.”

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