Meritor announces new business, start of production

By Mike Brezonick03 February 2021

Lion Electric will use Meritor’s Blue Horizon 14Xe integrated powertrain in its Class 8 tractors as part of a new three-year supply agreement. It was one of three business awards just announced by Meritor.

Meritor has announced several milestones in its Blue Horizon powertrain electrification business, including three new business awards, along with the start of series production of its 14Xe axle.

The company said it has entered into a three-year supply agreement with Volta Trucks, a London-based electric commercial vehicle startup. Meritor will supply Volta Trucks with its Blue Horizon 14Xe integrated ePowertrain.

“Meritor and Volta Trucks share a common vision for the future of commercial vehicle mobility – one that is safe and sustainable,” said Rob Fowler, CEO of Volta Trucks. “As Volta Trucks seeks to strengthen its position as a leading manufacturer of electric commercial vehicles, we look to partners like Meritor to bring us technologies to achieve our goals.”

Meritor’s 14Xe all-electric, fully integrated, commercial electric powertrain for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles will be equipped on the Volta Zero, which Volta Trucks introduced in September 2020. This purpose-built full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle, designed specifically for inner-city parcel and freight distribution, is anticipated to go into production in 2022 in the U.K.

The 14Xe integrated powertrain will also be used by Lion Electric, a Canadian manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. The systems will be used on Lion’s Class 8 tractors as part of a new three-year supply agreement.

“Lion Electric is driving the future of sustainable mobility in the commercial vehicle space, and Meritor is proud to provide Lion Electric with electric powertrain technologies that meet the needs of their next-generation tractors,” said T.J. Reed, vice president of Global Electrification for Meritor. “This award is a testament to the commitment we’ve made to investing in advanced technologies, so we can continue being a trusted partner and supplier of electrification technologies for the industry.”

Meritor also announced a five-year supply agreement with Autocar, LLC Trucks, an American specialty truck manufacturer, to supply Autocar’s refuse vehicles with Blue Horizon 14Xe integrated ePowertrains. Production is scheduled to begin in 2022.

“Meritor has been a longtime partner to Autocar, providing us with proven and trusted technologies for our vehicles, and we look forward to expanding our partnership, so that we can bring zero-emission solutions to market,” said James Johnston, president of Autocar.

Production set for mid-2021

Finally, Meritor announced that regular production of the 14Xe powertrain will begin in midyear. Meritor received its first Class 8 truck production contract for electric powertrains in the industry in early 2020. Part of the Blue Horizon advanced technology portfolio, Meritor said the 14Xe ePowertrain is the only electric powertrain for Class 8 trucks ready for production, bringing the industry a zero emission, best-in-class, premium solution.

“The 14Xe ePowertrain has been tested in various conditions around the world with several OEMs, vehicle types and applications, so we can offer the industry a proven electric powertrain technology,” Reed said. “In January 2020, we announced our agreement with Paccar to be its non-exclusive supplier of electric powertrains. One year later, we are nearing production and preparing to put vehicles on the road.”

The 14Xe electric powertrain, which will be produced at Meritor’s facilities in Asheville and Forest City, N.C., is designed to provide efficiency, performance, weight savings and space utilization. Meritor said the 14Xe ePowertrain has several advantages over remote mount systems including:

- A tighter turning radius due to a shorter wheelbase.

- Increased room between frame rails for additional battery capacity, which can extend the range of the vehicle.

- Lighter weight (up to 800 lb.).

Meritor added that its powertrain control module complies with ISO-26262 ASIL-C ratings, the international standard for functional safety in the automotive industry that applies to electrical and electronic systems consisting of hardware and software components in vehicles.

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