Eaton forms ePowertrain unit

By Mike Brezonick22 February 2022

Eaton announced its Vehicle Group has formed a new ePowertrain business unit, which will focus on products from Eaton’s electrified vehicle (EV) transmission, reduction gearing and differential portfolios. Combining the product lines into a new ePowertrain business unit creates synergy among Eaton’s powertrain and EV experts and allows the Vehicle Group to offer its global customers solutions for commercial vehicles and light-duty EVs.

“Automakers face many challenges when developing an EV powertrain, such as optimizing efficiency, weight, and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), and dealing with packaging constraints,” said Anthony Cronin, product director, EV Gearing and Differentials, Eaton’s Vehicle Group. “Eaton can help manufacturers overcome these challenges by utilizing our many years of experience and in-house capabilities in design, validation and manufacturing of high-precision, high-quality gearing, transmissions and differential solutions.”

Eaton gears Eaton said it uses advanced tools and in-house expertise to design optimized electric vehicle gearing solutions. (Photo: Eaton)

Eaton’s portfolio of multispeed transmissions includes 2-, 4- and 6-speed electrified commercial vehicle transmissions. Eaton said its EV transmissions are based on proven, robust and efficient layshaft architecture typical of automated manual transmissions (AMTs) and shifting is synchronized without a clutch using a traction motor.

Unlike direct-drive transmissions that have long been the standard in EVs, Eaton’s transmission portfolio offers significantly greater efficiency at high speeds as well as increased torque at launch and low speeds, the company said. The EV transmissions incorporate a lightweight countershaft gearbox that boasts a range of torque capacities and electric gearshift actuation, allowing use of smaller electric motors.

Leveraging its expertise in producing transmissions and contract-manufactured gear-sets for passenger and commercial vehicles, Eaton’s Vehicle Group is a global supplier of EV reduction gearing.

Whether a large-scale industrialization project or a niche-market application, Eaton partners with customers on joint-development programs or acts as a single service provider of EV reduction gearing components or systems. Eaton said its expertise in both design and manufacturing allows it to optimize solutions from a technical, commercial and production aspect, reducing the risk of multi-iteration design and enabling shortened development times.

Eaton said it conducts total system analysis using advanced tools and in-house expertise, to design EV gearing solutions optimized for efficiency and reliability, with low NVH levels and reduced manufacturing costs. A full-system approach is essential when tailoring a design to a specific customer need, as several factors influence the development of gearing solutions, the company said. Chief among those factors are the gears, bearings and lubrication system.

Eaton’s Vehicle Group offers a wide range of specialized differentials for EVs with performance comparable to differentials designed for traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Eaton offers a full range of differentials for EVs, including automatic limited-slip, automatic locking and electronic selectable locking differentials. Each is highly engineered, tested and validated for a variety of traction control applications. Performance is verified at Eaton’s Proving Ground testing complex in Marshall, Mich., which is home to more than 600 acres of testing facilities and tracks.

“Our new ePowertrain business unit can provide our customers with an optimized, integrated EV powertrain, which will help simplify their engineering development process,” Cronin said. “We will work with our global customers to determine the ideal combination of transmission, gearing and torque solutions that best meet their EV needs.”

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