Magna has introduced a prototype 577-horsepower battery-electric all-wheel-drive system for hard-working heavy-duty pickups that it calls EtelligentForce.
One of the world’s largest Tier-one automotive suppliers, Magna says the EtelligentForce drivetrain could power production trucks starting in 2025.
While carmakers are showing electrified light-duty pickups in the form of the Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning, and the Chevrolet Silverado EV, so far we’ve seen little information on the potential for applying electric power to heavy-duty work pickups.
The Magna system should open the door to the introduction of battery-powered work trucks and commercial vehicles with a towing capacity of as much as 14,500 lbs. Because the eDrive front drivetrain and eBeam rear system are designed as plug-in replacements for the hardware currently used by combustion-powered trucks, the heavy-duty trucks employing them will not need to be redesigned for their use.
While this means that such vehicles might not be optimized for electric power the way the new crop of battery-powered light pickups is, it also means that manufacturers can introduce battery power without incurring the cost of a redesign. It also means that they can sell combustion- and battery-powered heavy-duty pickups alongside each other, using the same chassis, letting customers choose the drivetrain that works best for their business. This is also appealing for fleet operators, who value interchangeability for parts and service.
“EtelligentForce comes at a pivotal time - particularly in the North American auto industry where pickup trucks are at their height of popularity and one of the last segments to become fully electric,” said President of Magna Powertrain, Tom Rucker. “The beauty of this powerful BEV system is that it delivers the environmental benefits of an electric powertrain while maintaining the capability and utility of conventional three-quarter-ton and 1-ton trucks. We are excited to be able to share these future-ready solutions with our stakeholders this year.”
“Our engineers created this advanced powertrain solution to enable our automaker partners to electrify their light trucks at both a lower cost and without compromising payload or towing capacities,” he continued. “Many automakers have to totally restructure certain models and change their manufacturing footprint – this is where we step in with a highly customizable systems approach and say, ‘Tell us which parts do you need and we’ll make it.’”
In preparation for the industry’s shift to electric power, Magna is setting up a new EV center at the company’s Troy, Mich. headquarters. This will be home for the dedicated EtelligentForce team as they prepare for the 2025 start of production, according to Magna.