eAxles take to the road

By Roberta Prandi01 April 2022

FPT Industrial presented at the CES show 2022 in Las Vegas an ePowertrain for commercial vehicles with integrated electric axles suitable for heavy commercial vehicles (HCVs) - Class 8 trucks in the USA - and for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and with a battery pack with customized Battery Management System (BMS).

The electric axle version for HCVs was jointly developed by FPT Industrial and Nikola for the battery-electric (BEV) Nikola Tre truck, whose European production site in cooperation with Iveco was inaugurated in September 2021 in Ulm (Germany).

FPT Industrial's eAxles FPT Industrial presented at the CES show 2022 in Las Vegas ePowertrains for heavy and light-duty commercial vehicles.

The unit for HCVs delivers 840 kW peak output power from two off-axis electric motors (420 Kw each); they take care of the power required for traction and are managed by two inverters.

Davide De Silvio, FPT Industrial director of Sales – ePowertrain, said that the integrated electric axle is suitable for heavy-duty 4x2 and 6x2 articulated 44-ton Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) trucks: “Our electric axles have already been delivered for the Nikola Tre with various destinations in the USA.” The Nikola Tre BEV has already shown a range of up to 560 km (350 mi) and very dynamic performance.

“The electric axle also features in the Nikola Tre Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV); some prototypes have already been delivered in the USA and production in Europe is planned to begin in Ulm in late 2023,” he added.

Andrea Abbà, FPT Industrial product marketing manage for On-road, explained that the electric axle version for LCVs is also powered by two electric motors – on-axis in this case. “This version allows for a sophisticated torque vectoring, with independent management of the two wheels in LCVs and pick-up trucks.”

The 37-kWh battery pack is the result of the cooperation between FPT Industrial and Texas-based Microvast on energy storage and management solutions.

De Silvio said that the collaboration with Microvast, a specialist in ultra-fast charging, long-life battery power systems for commercial vehicles, is especially meaningful for FPT Industrial. “The battery pack has been especially developed for commercial vehicles and is a Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion Pouch cells solution targeted to the commercial and industrial vehicle market, where Microvast is becoming a leader.”

Within the two companies’ cooperation agreement, Microvast manufactures battery cells and modules and delivers them to FPT Industrial’s plant in Turin, Italy, where the battery packs are produced.

In terms of future developments for FPT Industrial, De Silvio said that research is in progress for the commercial vehicle market. Abbà added that the experience in on-highway applications will form the basis for development in other markets, as for example with a fireproof battery pack for marine crafts and other solutions for off-highway machinery and power generation applications.

“Nowadays OEMs for off-highway machinery which want to develop electrified solutions usually work with small battery manufacturers and soon realize that the industrialization on a large scale of these solutions is not an easy feat,” commented De Silvio. “The cooperation with Microvast offers to FPT Industrial the unique possibility of accessing these products directly from a manufacturer that is focused on the industrial/off-highway market and does not derive from automotive, with the related flexibility it grants.”

The battery pack is completed by a BMS developed by Potenza, now part of FPT Industrial, that allows for sophisticated solutions in energy management and storage.

De Silvio reported that Potenza has become the third pillar of FPT Industrial’s research - along with the R&D centers in Turin, Italy, and Arbon, Switzerland – and the competence hub for electric powertrain solutions.

This article appeared in New Power Progress, in the March/April issue of Diesel Progress International. Click HERE to read the whole issue.

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