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Zytek To Supply Electric Powertrains for Navistar / Modec JV

Zytek’s integrated E-Drive unit. Click to enlarge.

A range of electric delivery vehicles being developed for the North, Central and South American markets will use a highly integrated 70 kW powertrain from UK specialist Zytek. Developed with the support of a $39 million (£23 million) US Government grant, the vehicles will be manufactured by a new joint venture company being established by US truck supplier Navistar and British electric commercial vehicle specialist Modec. (Earlier post.)

The US Modec / Navistar application will be for a new generation of class 2c-3 vehicles optimized for suburban / urban pick and drop applications. To provide good performance for high productivity combined with excellent hill start capability when fully laden, the new vehicle will use a 70 kW, 300 N·m (221 lb-ft) version of Zytek’s E-Drive, which is also available in 55 kW, 120 N·m (89 lb-ft) and 55 kW 160 N·m (118 lb-ft) versions.

Zytek’s E-Drive. Click to enlarge.

The grant will help fund the development, validation and deployment of an initial batch of 400 vehicles during 2010. Gross Vehicle Weight will be 12,100 lbs (5.5 tonnes) and the latest lithium-ion batteries will provide a range exceeding 100 miles.

Zytek’s E-Drive as a basis for EV development allows fast integration with new or existing vehicle platforms and is thoroughly proven. Current production applications for E-Drive range from the smart fourtwo electric city car, through a number of C-segment family sedans and light duty vans, to several categories of heavier commercial vehicle. Low volume vehicle build, typically for fleet trials, is conducted at Zytek, while for higher volumes the company supports assembly at the customer’s vehicle manufacturing facility, with the highly integrated design of E-Drive making it ideal for integration alongside standard models.

Zytek has also provided technology and integration expertise for General Motors and Chrysler to support production and concept vehicle programs.

In September, Zytek unveiled a fully engineered, electric version of the Mercedes A-Class that it developed in just ten weeks. Designed to demonstrate the capability of the company’s production-ready 55 kW E-Drive electric powertrain, the five-seat electric family car project is a Zytek in-house activity and is entirely independent of Mercedes-Benz. (Earlier post.)



"initial batch of 400 vehicles during 2010.
(5.5 tonnes) and the latest lithium-ion batteries will provide a range exceeding 100 miles."

Drop in , plug in drive away.
marvelous, of course its the batteries that will make these practical or not.

A world market version means worldwide support .. There is no reason why anyone cannot have one of these to market in months in new or retrofitted.
Break the in house monopolistic nature of (most) ALL the currently available suppliers.
This is as it should be. From a consumer perspective.
No more foreign language courses for every vehicle that comes into the workshop.

True competition from parts suppliers and simple inventory.

I can imagine this concept will soon be welcomed through the (workshop)door like a familiar friend..a recognisable face.

Nick Lyons

Business opportunity: Set up a shop (chain of shops?) to do F150 pickup conversions. There's plenty of space for batteries without reducing load capacity. Leverage these components to design a standardized conversion and sell your services to fleet users.


"latest lithium-ion batteries"

Sure would be nice to hear who is responsible/providing/making these batteries


If/when batteries are cheap we won't need some universal battery/motor combo any more than we need a universal ICE/Xmission combo.

When batteries are not yrt cheap we don't need a universal expensive battery/motor combo.

When batteries are cheap, EVs of all kinds will cover the roads like kudzu.

Engineering an EV is not the barrier.



There are companies that convert pickups to hybrids. There is a company that made an all electric F150 with wheel motors. There are companies that convert large pickups to natural gas dual fuel. But the cost of conversion is a barrier to adoption and to make a large difference you need to have wide spread adoption. This and everything else should be done after the cost/benefit is examined. The individual consumer will look at the price tag of $10,000 $20,000 $30,000 and may conclude that it just is not worth it.

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