Eaton Develops 2-Speed Transmission for Electric Vehicle Application

Date: September 21, 2016

 HANNOVER, GERMANY … Power management company Eaton has developed a 2-speed transmission for heavy- and medium-duty electric commercial vehicle applications to meet growing demand in the European and other markets. The product will be in full production this Fall and is on display here at the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles Show.

Eaton has partnered with UQM Technologies, Inc. based in Longmont, Colorado, and Pi Innovo, based in Plymouth, Michigan, to design and produce the “UQM PowerPhaseDT” system. Eaton has developed and will supply to UQM a 2-speed transmission for an Electric Vehicle application, and Pi Innovo will develop and supply to UQM the transmission control unit. Together, the components will be combined with UQM’s current PowerPhase® HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system to create the UQM PowerPhase DT, which is a full electric drive system.

“We are very pleased to partner with UQM and Pi Innovo for this joint project,” said Marco Rollero, director, Sales and Marketing, Eaton’s Vehicle Group, Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA). “Eaton is striving to deliver value to its customers, and this new full electric drive system is an example of this commitment. It will help vehicle manufacturers meet new regulatory requirements while ensuring the most efficient use of natural resources.”

The system will allow customers in the medium- and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in areas of grade performance, acceleration and efficiency.  Eaton’s 2-speed transmission provides a greater speed and torque range which allows a smaller electric motor to power large vehicles. The smaller drive train also allows for improved packaging efficiency, greater payload capacity, and lower cost when compared with direct drive or single speed drivetrain strategies. 

In addition, the 2-speed transmission keeps the electric motor operating in the highest efficiency region for a greater portion of the drive cycle. Combined with the high efficiency of the “UQM PowerPhaseDT” electric drive system, customers will achieve higher overall vehicle efficiency, save on the cost of batteries, and increase the driving range of their vehicles.

The development and production of a full electric drive system supports the overarching need for full transmission systems, as enhanced performance and efficiency requirements are mandated by customer drive cycle needs coupled with the need to reduce battery costs while meeting more stringent regulatory requirements.

Eaton is a power management company with 2015 sales of $20.9 billion. Eaton provides energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton has approximately 96,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit

UQM Technologies is a developer and manufacturer of power-dense, high-efficiency electric motors, generators, power electronic controllers and fuel cell compressors for the commercial truck, bus, automotive, marine, military and industrial markets. A major emphasis for UQM is developing propulsion systems for electric, hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. UQM is TS 16949 and ISO 14001 certified. For more information, please visit

Pi Innovo is a world leader in the development and manufacture of electronics for the automotive, transportation, defense, and industrial markets. Using its OpenECU® the same proven, robust, reliable electronics hardware can be applied in successive rapid prototyping development projects and fleet trials, or in production vehicles. Because all OpenECU modules are designed and manufactured by Pi Innovo, the company can meet individual customer’s needs by creating custom variants from prototyping to production applications. For more information visit



Jim Michels

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