If you have paid any attention to the automotive industry as of late, you will have noticed that the electric pickup truck has become quite a popular commodity. Here at MC&T we’ve shared information about all sorts of these machines, ranging from the vintage-inspired Alpha Wolf on up to the 1,000 horsepower GMC Hummer EV. And while automakers continue to invest billions of dollars into the development of electric vehicle platforms, one Tier 1 automotive supplier may have just created a way to help electrify trucks in a more cost effective way. According to Autoblog, that company is Magna International, and they’ll help do that with their new eBeam electric live axles.
The eBeam electric live axle from Magna International is a rather self explanatory device. It’s a solid axle that contains an electric motor in the center, in place of where a traditional differential would sit. The company says that the eBeam will be available in a variety of configurations, including a single motor layout with a single-speed gearbox, a single motor with a two-speed box, or a dual motor setup. The latter will provide the vehicle with torque vectoring capabilities. Total output will range between 161-335 horsepower, while providing instant torque delivery. Perhaps most important however is the fact that this system has been designed to utilize the standard chassis, suspension, and brake layouts found on a particular gas-powered truck.
While this kit of kit may seem simple in its nature, it does provide benefits that truck customers may appreciate. That is especially true among the off-roading crowd, who love the wheel articulation that these traditional axle setups provide. Furthermore, Manga International has already stated that they will help develop a similar front axle setup for any automakers that are interested in creating a 4×4 vehicle with this setup. This would leave automakers to simple source a battery pack to complete the powertrain setup. That could prove rather enticing for smaller startups and legacy automakers alike.
Magna International has yet to comment whether or not they have teamed up with any automakers at this time. That said, Autoblog did note that this Magna eBeam does look pretty similar to the rear axle found on the electric Ford F-150 they spied testing a while back. This is interesting for a few reasons. First, we know that the electric F-150 will start on the same production line as it’s gasoline-powered siblings. Second, Ford and Magna International already have a relationship due to the suppliers role in developing the trailer steer system.
While it may not be as glamorous as rolling out yet another electric pickup truck prototype, Magna International has peaked out interest with this eBeam electric live axle system. Based on what they’ve said, it appears you could transform just about any ICE-powered truck into an electric one with a little bit of handiwork. That would certainly do a lot more towards curbing the climate crisis than building loads of extremely powerful and massive heavy EVs.