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ArvinMeritor Developing New All-Electric Commercial Vehicle

ArvinMeritor, an $8B Tier One supplier to the auto industry, is developing an all-electric drivetrain for commercial vehicles with Unicell, a medium-duty body builder. The resulting new Class 4 medium-duty vehicle (GVWR of 16,000 lbs), which is being designed for a fleet customer, will use a fully-electric drivetrain and will be demonstrated to the public in 2006.

The initial vehicle application is for pickup and delivery vehicles. The particular fleet name is being withheld pending completion of the vehicle development.

This is an exciting new vehicle application for our expanding role as a true systems integrator. We are leveraging our experience in electric drive axles and are gaining the know-how to design similar systems for other applications, such as school bus and low-floor bus and coach vehicles.

—Garrick Hu, vice president of Advanced Engineering, ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business unit

Hu projected that this type of zero-emissions vehicle will become dominant in many commercial vocational applications over the next five to 15 years, primarily due to the need for reducing emissions in urban environments. The rate of adoption will depend largely on the cost of battery energy storage relative to the cost of fossil fuel.

ArvinMeritor has been designing and manufacturing electric drive axles for more than 15 years, specifically for low-floor buses in Europe. The new drivetrain system relies on onboard energy storage and delivers the torque to the wheel ends via dual motors integral to the vehicle’s rear axles.

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