Eaton EV transmissions for Proterra

By Mike Brezonick06 May 2022

Eaton announced that its eMobility business has been chosen to supply a four-speed medium-duty electrified vehicle (EV) transmission to Proterra for the company’s ProDrive drivetrain used in 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, Eaton’s Vehicle Group. “The transmissions also have the ability to enable longer range due to efficiency gains.”

Eaton EV transmission Eaton’s four-speed EV transmission. (Photo: Eaton)

Eaton said the medium-duty four-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 1200 Nm (885 lb. ft.) and electric gearshift actuation that Eaton said enables manufacturers to use smaller, more efficient motors.

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

“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 said. “Our four-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.”

Eaton’s eMobility business was formed by combining products, expertise and global manufacturing capabilities from Eaton’s Electrical and Vehicle Groups. The eMobility product portfolio includes power electronics, power distribution and protection solutions and ePowertrain solutions for passenger car, commercial vehicle and off-highway customers.

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