New Modular Drivetrain Easily Converts Pickup Trucks Into EVs

Magna's drivetrain technology is aimed at electrifying the pickup vehicle segment.
Chris Young
Drivetrain technologyMagna/YouTube

Mobility tech firm Magna has unveiled its new pickup truck drivetrain, which makes it easy for automakers to convert existing internal combustion engine (ICE) pickup truck designs into electric vehicles (EVs).

"Magna continues to accelerate its powertrain electrification capabilities to help automakers achieve a zero-emission future," the company states in a press release

The drivetrain, called eBeam, gives automaker the ability to electrify their trucks without sacrificing utility and functionality — the system is built to support "high-payload vehicles," the company says.

New Modular Drivetrain Easily Converts Pickup Trucks Into EVs
eBeam's structure-oriented design supports high payload vehicles, Magna says. Source: Magna/YouTube

By integrating the technology into their body-on-frame trucks, replacing the ICE drivetrain automakers convert existing combustion engine vehicles into battery electric or hybrid powertrain vehicles.

The eBeam technology integrates with pickup truck architectures, without requiring unique suspension, chassis, or brake systems. The solution will help automakers bring new electrified trucks to market more quickly and at a cheaper price, Magna says.

Electrifying the pickup vehicle segment

eBeam is essentially a drop-in replacement for traditional beam axles. The team behind the technology says their product constitutes the first significant change to truck rear axle systems for over 100 years. 

"It is a bold endeavor to electrify pickup trucks, whose owners demand the towing and hauling capabilities they are currently used to, and we’ve accomplished it with our eBeam technology," said Tom Rucker, President, Magna Powertrain. "We know axles are core elements of a truck’s strength, and we are excited to have developed the first significant improvement to the solid beam axle in over 100 years."

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The drivetrains come in different variants ranging from single motor, single speed to twin motor with torque vectoring. Power ranges are between 120 kW and 250 kW.

The company also offers several complete powertrain solutions to support electric four-wheel drive, including advanced software and controls for seamless integration.

As Magna Powertrain President, Tom Rucker, points out in the video below, trucks are one of the largest car segments, accounting for 20 percent of new vehicles sold in 2020.

Magna's new EV drivetrain, as well as new options such as Tesla's Cybertruck, the Canoo pickup, and the Rivian EV pickup, will help the segment to fully embrace electrification.

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