Magna Offers Low-Cost Electric Truck Solution for Automakers

Image: Magna International Inc.

Magna International Inc., one of the largest automotive suppliers in the world, has unveiled a battery-electric, four-wheel-drive powertrain system that automakers can directly integrate into their pickup trucks and even light commercial trucks without having to completely overhaul the architectures that underpin them — reports Automotive News.

The EtelligentForce, as Magna is calling the system, is a complete drivetrain solution for both passenger trucks and light commercial trucks.

The system incorporates Magna’s eBeam electric axle drive technology, allowing automakers to retrofit their existing production architectures with an all-electric powertrain. The EtelligentForce powertrain is even compatible with existing suspension and braking systems, and, per Magna, preserves the full extent of a vehicle’s payload or towing capacity.

All-electric automakers like Tesla and Rivian have already built their own electric truck platforms from scratch, while automotive industry veterans like Ford Motor Co. and General Motors are spending big bucks to transition their manufacturing blueprints to all-electric and catch up.

However, there are several automakers across the globe who have not yet attempted electric light trucks and don’t really have a strategy in place to make that transition.

These automakers make up Magna’s target audience for the EtelligentForce, as the solution offers them an opportunity to electrify their trucks without undergoing costly platform redesigns or spending time and resources on developing their own.

As Magna showed off a formerly gasoline-powered 2020 GMC Sierra 2500HD retrofitted with the EtelligentForce all-electric powertrain system to press last week, the company’s CEO, Swamy Kotagiri, said automakers had already expressed “a lot of interest” in the offering.

Kotagiri said the strength of the EtelligentForce solution is its flexibility. Automakers who have developed electric platforms for large trucks can buy their EV powertrain from Magna just as easily as those who have not, he said.

“OEMs can say, ‘I’ve changed the entire architecture to a true EV. Now, fit this in for me,'” he said. Or a potential customer might be interested in only the powertrain domain, he added.

“It’s still a big piece of the overall electric architecture,” the CEO said. An automaker might say: “I don’t want to touch ADAS and other stuff. But I want to make the change. Can you bring it in?”

Most importantly, the EtelligentForce powertrain system will allow automakers to make the switch to all-electric without losing any of the capabilities or value propositions of their trucks.

According to Kotagiri, Magna’s EtelligentForce drivetrain solution will be ready for mass production by 2025.