German axle manufacturer BPW displayed an electric drive axle at the recent Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham. Rather than supply the unit to third parties, the company is to install it into 7.5-tonne Isuzu N75 chassis-cabs, which will be delivered to the BPW factory in Germany as ‘glider units’ and sold by BPW under the BAX brand name.
Unlike some electric trucks that retain a conventional driveline layout with a central motor and a drive-axle with a differential, the BPW eTransport design features twin 50 kW 3290 Nm asynchronous motors mounted in-line with the axle. This saves between five and seven per cent of energy by not turning the motion through 90 degrees, and also offers a tighter turning circle with reduced tyre scrub, as on tight turns a steering sensor directs power to the outside wheel only.
Two battery packs will be available to suit urban or semi-urban routes, and the units have already undergone a million km of field trials, including towing trailers of up to 3.5-tonnes.
BPW also has a more powerful version of the e-axle, with twin 260 kW motors, suited to trucks of 18 to 26 tonnes gvw, in development.