Since 2017, Meritor has built a strong working relationship with Transportation Power Inc. (TransPower), which manufacturers integrated drive systems, to help accelerate Meritor’s eAxle program. With the recent acquisition of the 10-year-old TransPower, Meritor has solidified its spot on the front lines of the electrification revolution and strengthened its expansion from axles to the entire electric powertrain.
"This acquisition enables us to further position the company as a premier supplier of electrification technologies for commercial vehicles," said Jay Craig, Meritor's CEO and president. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but the partnership has already yielded positive results in the electric vehicle (EV) space including Peterbilt’s medium-duty 220EV used by Frito-Lay, Model 520EV refuse trucks and Class 8 Model 579EV. Pulling back the curtain on each side’s innovative product development practices and melding workflows will only enhance the current symbiotic relationship.
“This basically bends the learning curve for us and gets pilot vehicles quicker to market, validated through OEMs and in the hands of customers,” explained T.J. Reed, Meritor vice president of global electrification, to Fleet Owner.
Reed, who now oversees the California-based TransPower group, said that Meritor, already engulfed in at least 22 active e-mobility programs comprising 130 EVs, said the acquisition “certainly gives us more capacity and capabilities than we've had.”
Meritor gets requests every week from customers looking to test five to 15 electric trucks employing components from the company’s Blue Horizon line, which includes the 12Xe powertrain for Class 4 through 7 applications and 17Xe powertrain for heavy-duty 4x2 and 6x2 trucks, Reed noted.
“With the expertise and capability of TransPower, we can address a lot of those requests more efficiently and quicker,” he said.
New fleet customers across the globe can lean on TransPower’s decade of experience and “learn from the hard knocks of other customers,” Reed said.
This could include regional specific issues such as humidity’s effects on batteries in South America to just the overall drivability.
“A driver doesn't want to feel like he's taken a step back in an EV,” Reed said. “That’s a lot of the validation work TransPower is working on right now on the full-vehicle side.”
Before those types of integrations can fully scale, Meritor and TransPower will begin figuring out how to “streamline and prioritize” workflows and processes to develop and test new products. For Meritor it is uncharted territory, but Reed is excited to move from prototypes to series production and “get the technology in the hands of customers for real work.”
“We've spent decade upon decade perfecting diesel engines and the current architecture of commercial vehicles, and all that's going to change,” Reed said.