UQM Technologies, Inc. signed a development agreement with Meritor, Inc. to jointly develop full-electric axle systems (E-axles) for the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle market, according to a February 2 announcement.
The development program, expected to last for two and a half years, calls for Meritor to develop integrated axle components for E-axle technology. The components will be combined with UQM Technologies’ motor and inverter technology and hardware to create the Meritor and UQM Electric Axle System—MUQM Electric Axles—for the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets.
Through the strategic alliance, the companies will develop the E-axles to address the market’s increasing demand requirements for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions through much higher levels of vehicle electrification.
According to the announcement, the agreement will provide UQM both development funding and the opportunity to supply E-axle components directly to Meritor to support its customer base along with identifying new customers and applications around the globe for this new product line.
“We are excited to align ourselves with Meritor to address the commercial market from a new vantage point. This allows UQM to focus on design and development and in turn approach the market as a Tier 2 supplier with a proven Tier 1 OEM,” said Joe Mitchell, President and CEO of UQM, in the announcement. “We believe this relationship gives Meritor the opportunity to become a leading supplier of E-axles using UQM’s technology allowing customers to benefit from integrated solutions that drive cost savings in the long term.”
The benefits of the system are expected to allow customers in the medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle (EV) commercial markets to improve on component packaging requirements, realize cost savings from integration as well as increased vehicle performance.
“We are pleased to engage with UQM on this important project,” John Bennett, Meritor’s General Manager of Global Product Strategy, said in the announcement. “We believe that this relationship will provide leading edge technology that will meet and exceed our customers’ expectations for E-axle solutions.”
The companies anticipate that prototypes will be ready by early fall of 2017.