Dana tapped by two truck OEMs for medium-duty electrification

by John G. Smith

A row of Sumo motors from TM4 await shipping. They may be similar in appearance, but could have different ratings that increase the motor’s length but not the diameter.

ATLANTA, Ga. – Dana Incorporated will supply a major OEM with a complete electric powertrain for medium-duty trucks as early as next year, and it will be on the road in early 2021.

The news, unveiled during the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, was coupled by an announcement that the company has secured a new e-powertrain development project with a leading truck manufacturer as well.

The participating truck manufacturers were not named.

The three-year medium-duty vehicle program will include a complete electric powertrain system, and is expected to generate about $200 million in incremental sales for Dana, with vehicles available for order in the second half of 2020.

The direct-drive system will use a motor to power a Dana-supplied axle and driveshaft, and will feature other Dana offerings including a Spicer electrified e-propulsion system with a Dana TM4 motor and inverter; a Spicer electrified e-power system to store and manage the energy; and software and controls to enable diagnostics and thermal management.

The second unnamed truck manufacturer will incorporate a Dana TM4 Sumo HP motor developed for both hybrid and battery-electric configurations, the company said.

“These new vehicle programs leverage Dana’s complete e-powertrain products and capabilities, while demonstrating our ability to deliver end-to-end turnkey electric systems for our customers, which will in turn provide Dana profitable growth through electrified system sales,” said Mark Wallace, Dana’s president of commercial vehicle drive technologies.

Dana’s electrified components are already featured in more than 16,000 vehicles that have collectively covered 966 million km. The company expects to pass the billion-kilometer mark threshold as early as Wednesday.

Most of the experience has been based in China, with equipment such as electrified transit buses.

“They are performing very well in adverse conditions,” added director – global product planning Steve Slesinski.

Dana has invested about $300 million in its electrification business, beginning with the acquisition of TM4 in July 2018, said Wallace. It acquired SME Group in January 2019, gaining low-voltage AC motors, inverters and controls. The acquisition of Oerlikon in March 2019 featured high-performance transmissions and mechatronics.

The company’s investment in Hyliion in March 2019 added a hybrid system for Class 8 over-the-road trucks, using GPS and terrain-based data to decide when to engage the electric drive.

The portfolio was rounded out with the recent acquisition of Nordressa, known for electric commercial vehicle integration.

Regional government incentives continue to drive much of the interest in vehicle electrification.

“In Canada there’s incentives in Quebec, so those incentives are driving a lot of interest,” Slesinski observed.

While longhaul vehicles are more likely to depend on hybrid systems rather than full battery-electric models, a business case can already be made for fully electric vehicles such as yard tractors, the company notes. Dana unveiled a model developed with Lonestar.

“It’s an application that can justify itself without any government incentives,” Slesinski added.


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