Magna EtelligentForce powers plug-n-play electric pickups

Magna International says it’s the largest OEM parts supplier in North America and the third largest in the world. On top of that, the company’s full-scale assembly arm makes the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover, is contracted to build the Fisker Ocean EV crossover, and signed on to build electric skateboard platforms for Ree Automotive. The Canadian outfit has a ton of expertise with electric powertrains, and has spent the past couple of years showing off its in-house electric platform work under the rubric of EtelligentDrive. Magna announced its newest platform development at CES, the EtelligentForce BEV powertrain system for light duty pickups and commercial vehicles. It’s presented as a cost-efficient way for a manufacturer to convert an ICE drivetrain to an EV drivetrain without needing to redesign the platform, and without changing vital vehicle specs like payload capacity and tow rating.

EtelligentForce swaps out a truck’s rear beam axle for Magna’s eBeam electrified unit, capable of being equipped with an ePark lock and an electronic locking diff. If the client wants four-wheel drive, Magna’s eDrive motor goes on the front axle, this motor capable of decoupling for better gas mileage and torque vectoring. Maximum system output is 577 horsepower, the rear eBeam topping out at 335 hp, the front eDrive able to provide the rest. The company says the system’s been designed for “high-payload vehicles,” the truck’s standard suspension and brake setups don’t need to be reworked to accommodate the technology, and the units can be customized “to prioritize key performance attributes.”

The caveat here is that while Magna calls out 3/4-ton and one-ton trucks, it also says the EtelligentForce maximum tow rating is 14,500 pounds. That’s a weird weight to fall on, being not far beyond the claimed max tow ratings of half-ton pickups from the the Big Three, but well short of max tow ratings for the 3/4-ton trucks, much less the one-ton haulers. Magna didn’t provide any specs about how big a battery might be needed to power the system to a usable daily range, but that extra weight could have something to do with aiming this at heavy-duty trucks.

It could be a few years before we have all of the production details. Magna is establishing a new electric vehicle center in Troy, Michigan, where a development team will prepare EtelligentForce for a planned 2025 rollout.

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