Eaton to supply transmissions for Proterra electric transit buses

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Power management company Eaton has announced that its e-mobility business has been chosen to supply a 4-speed medium-duty electrified vehicle (EV) transmission to Proterra, a developer of commercial vehicle electrification technology, for the company’s ProDrive drivetrain used in the Proterra ZX5 electric transit buses.

“Our EV transmissions have unmatched performance, providing class-leading acceleration, horsepower, range and durability,” said Julie Marshaus, manager, new product introductions, ePowertrain, at Eaton’s Vehicle Group. “The transmissions also have the ability to enable longer range due to efficiency gains.”

The medium-duty 4-speed transmission, to be used in city buses in North America, addresses the primary issue related to single-speed drives that have contradictory requirements for high efficiency at top speeds and increased torque at launch and low speeds. The transmission is a lightweight, countershaft gearbox with torque capacity up to 1,200Nm (885 lb-ft.) and electric gearshift actuation that enables manufacturers to use smaller, more efficient motors.

The transmission has fine-pitch helical gears that ensure smooth, low-noise operation and a shifting strategy designed to extend range and battery life. Eaton states that road tests have shown a 20% to 30% efficiency improvement in energy consumption under normal driving conditions compared to a direct-drive transmission and a 10% to 15% improvement compared to a current 2-speed solution.

“Eaton has been in the hybrid transmission business for over 15 years, and we have more than two billion miles of reliable operation of hybrid transmission-equipped trucks and buses on the road,” Marshaus added. “Our 4-speed transmission provides uncompromised launch-ability on grade and has shift points to keep the electric motor operating in its most efficient region while drivability and vehicle safety is taken into account.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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