SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Eaton is banking on an electric future for trucking and has formed a new eMobility business to provided the industry with a wide range of electric power solutions.
Most famous for its transmissions, Eaton is also well established in the electrical field and formed the new business by combining products, expertise and global manufacturing capabilities from its electrical and vehicle groups.
“We’re known to be more of a mechanical type provider in transmissions, but we really do know electricity and electric power,” Scott Adams, senior vice-president of product strategy and sales for the eMobility business segment told Trucknews.com in an interview. “We have a really strong depth of understanding of electricity and with our heritage in the vehicle space, we’re able to blend our electricity knowledge with our vehicle knowledge.”
Eaton is investing about US$500 million into the new business over the next several years. It anticipates the vehicle electrification market will grow to include 15 million pure battery-electric vehicles and another 30 million hybrids by 2030. Its prime focus will be on intelligent power electronics, power systems, and advanced power distribution and circuit protection for both automotive and commercial vehicle customers.
Despite this sharp growth in electrification, Adams said it will be a while before fully electric heavy trucks become the norm. But the journey to an electric future will begin with smaller steps, such as the electrification of certain components, and eMobility has a role to play there as well.
“We believe adoption will happen from a regulatory perspective,” Adams said. “Over time, as they get into the second and third phases of the greenhouse gas (GHG) Phase 2 rules, some electrification will be used to achieve those limits. There are a lot of drivers. There’s a regulatory push and a customer pull.”
The move to full electric power will likely begin with light-duty vehicles and locally driven commercial trucks. Mild hybridization is likely to come first, as battery cost and weight remains a challenge for Class 8 longhaul trucking.
An Eaton on-board charger.
“The challenge, really, is the cost of the batteries and the weight of the batteries,” said Adams. “But we do see adoption happening.”
Adams said the eMobility business is ready to hit the ground running and should generate about $300 million in revenue this year from its current electrified portfolio. It projects revenues to grow to $2-$4 billion by 2030. The business will be headquartered in Southfield, Mich., with design centers and manufacturing locations in Asia, Europe and the Americas. It already employs about 1,200 people.
Existing products offered by the new business include DC/DC converters, power distribution units, hybrid and battery-electric transmissions, and high-voltage fuses.
Eaton says it has more than 15 years of experience developing hybrid systems, with more than 15,000 on the road globally. It also makes the high-voltage, fast-acting fuses found in nearly half of the electric cars in the world.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies