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Clean Transport

BAE Partners With Eaton To Improve Medium Duty Trucks With Electric Drivetrains

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BAE Systems is a multinational defense, security, and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. Established in 1999 through the merger of British Aerospace (BAe) and Marconi Electronic Systems (MES), BAE Systems has grown to become one of the world’s leading defense contractors, providing innovative solutions to governments and commercial clients across the globe.

The company operates in various sectors, including air, land, sea, cyber, and space, developing cutting-edge technologies and systems for military and civilian applications. Some of its key products and services include combat vehicles, naval ships, submarines, fighter aircraft, avionics, radar systems, communication systems, and cybersecurity solutions. In addition to its core defense and aerospace business, BAE Systems also offers a range of other services such as intelligence analysis, electronic warfare, and support solutions for mission-critical infrastructure.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound much like a cleantech company does it? But it’s teaming up with well-known automotive company Eaton.

For those unfamiliar, Eaton Corporation is a global power management company that provides energy-efficient solutions to help customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power more reliably, efficiently, and sustainably. Founded in 1911 by Joseph O. Eaton, the company is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio, United States.

Eaton operates across a diverse range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, construction, data centers, energy, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, and utilities. Its extensive product portfolio includes electrical components and systems, hydraulics components, systems and services, aerospace fuel and motion control systems, vehicle drivetrain and powertrain systems, as well as eMobility solutions for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The company’s offerings are designed to improve overall efficiency and reduce energy consumption, contributing to a more sustainable future. Eaton’s innovative technologies help customers optimize their operations, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact, while ensuring safety and reliability.

Eaton’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its products and solutions, as the company actively works to minimize its own environmental footprint through responsible manufacturing practices, resource conservation, and waste reduction initiatives. Eaton also invests in research and development to create new technologies that address the world’s most pressing energy challenges.

So, working together, there’s some serious potential for cleantech work in the automotive industry.

What The Companies Will Be Working On

Under a memorandum of understanding, BAE Systems and Eaton have agreed to collaborate on a solution targeting the medium-duty commercial truck platforms market. As an initial step in this partnership, the companies are developing a Class-7 pickup and delivery demonstration vehicle to showcase their combined capabilities.

In this collaboration, BAE Systems will integrate its power-dense electric motor and advanced silicon carbide/gallium nitride power electronics suite with Eaton’s MD 4-speed EV transmission. This combination will create a comprehensive EV system for medium-duty vehicles, such as those used in various pickup and delivery applications. The complete solution, utilizing industry-leading technology, will offer original equipment manufacturers a durable, high-performance, compact, and efficient system. Additionally, the optimized system will have the flexibility to work with multiple zero-emission platforms.

“Our complementary strengths and industry knowledge in providing clean transportation solutions will address a critical need for new, clean technology options for the global truck market,” said Steve Trichka, vice president and general manager of Power & Propulsion Solutions at BAE Systems. “Together, BAE Systems and Eaton will enable electric drive systems that are efficient, modular, and scalable for our customers.”

BAE Systems’ Gen3 electric drive solution is based on 25 years of innovation in powering low- and zero-emission platforms on land and sea, encompassing battery electric, fuel cell, and hybrid electric vehicles. The company has over 16,000 propulsion systems in operation worldwide, serving transit buses, boats, military, and industrial vehicles across the globe. BAE Systems develops and services its electric propulsion technology at facilities located in Endicott, New York, and Rochester, U.K.

“Eaton is delighted to collaborate with BAE Systems to provide more electrified powertrain solutions to our commercial vehicle customers. Our medium duty 4-speed EV transmissions are proven in the industry to offer class-leading performance through superior acceleration and gradeability, while delivering advanced efficiency for the EV system,” said Mark Kramer, business unit director, ePowertrain, Eaton’s Vehicle Group.

Why This Matters

The partnership between Eaton and BAE Systems will have a significant impact on the emerging EV medium-duty truck industry by combining their respective expertise in power management and electric propulsion systems. This collaboration aims to develop advanced, efficient, and sustainable solutions for medium-duty commercial vehicles, which are essential for various pick-up and delivery applications.

This collaboration is important to the wider EV industry for several reasons. Firstly, by bringing together two industry players with varying strengths, the partnership fosters innovation in electric vehicle technology, paving the way for new advancements in medium-duty commercial trucks. These innovations could potentially influence the development of other electric vehicle segments as well.

Lastly, the development of advanced EV systems for medium-duty trucks can stimulate market growth by providing more efficient and reliable options for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This, in turn, can boost the overall demand for electric vehicles across different industries.

In summary, the partnership between Eaton and BAE Systems plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the EV medium-duty truck industry by driving innovation, reducing emissions, lowering operating costs, and promoting market growth. These benefits extend not only to the medium-duty truck segment, but also contribute to the broader progress of the electric vehicle industry as a whole.

Even outside of this partnership, technologies improved and developed for this project will eventually contribute to the wider knowledge of the industry both for heavier duty vehicles and light-duty vehicles. We may think that current EV technology is the best there can be, with players like Tesla using Model 3-like motors for everything from sedans to semis, but seeing these different companies come up with drive systems, battery packs, other hardware, and the software to tie it together in such a way as to better serve different market segments means that more specialized technology and methods will develop.

So, the sky’s no longer the limit. Expect to see more in the years to come.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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