Meritor made several new product announcements at its Oct. 29 press conference at the North American Motor Vehicle Show, but two stood out: Two new electric drivetrain offerings and the introduction of an air-disc brake engineered for linehaul applications.
Meritor is expanding its Blue Horizons portfolio of e-drive products with the addition of the 12Xe powertrain for Class 4-7 trucks and the 17Xe powertrain for heavy-duty 4x2 and 6x2 trucks.
"These powertrain solutions are engineered to fit multiple vehicle applications to meet customer needs now and in the future," said John Bennett, vice president and CTO.
He said the 12Xe powertrain's modular design uses many of the same components as Meritor's 14Xe full-electric powertrain, which is now undergoing testing with fleets.
Testing of the 12Xe powertrain starts next year, and production launch is slated to begin in 2021. The 12Xe powertrain expands Meritor's electric solutions coverage into Class 4 and 5 applications and into Class 6 and 7 applications with wheels as small as 17.5 inches, without sacrificing ground clearance, according to Bennet.
Truck OEMs can choose from a range of wheel-ends, brakes, transmissions and differential gearing, all tailored to meet a vehicle's duty-cycle. The electric motor can be scaled to specific vehicle requirements and delivers 150, 180 or 200 kilowatts of continuous power and 250 kilowatts of peak power. The 12Xe powertrain is available with several differential options, including differential lock and a limited slip differential.
The 17Xe powertrain will deliver 420 kilowatts of continuous power and 450 kilowatts of peak power, and is packaged it to fit easily into the rails of 4x2 trucks. In Europe, applications include 44-ton heavy-duty long-haul trucks, medium-duty 27-ton refuse vehicles, 19.5- and 26.5-ton intercity buses and 26.5-ton coaches. It will also fit 40- and 60-foot city buses in North America.
Meritor's new two- and three-speed dual countershaft transmission is optional on the 12Xe and 14Xe powertrains. The transmission, coupled with the right-sized motor, delivers improved vehicle performance compared to a single-speed or direct-drive system, Bennett pointed out.
He said each variant of the transmission is built with compact gear range splits to deliver efficient and high-performing operation. In addition, the three-speed version extends the performance envelope over the two-speed version to deliver higher startability and top speed.
"Meritor's expanding range of next-generation technologies that include comprehensive solutions for standard axles, remote-mount configurations or fully electric powertrain systems furthers our goal of becoming the electric drivetrain supplier of choice,” noted Bennett.
Linehaul Air Disc Brake
Meritor described its new lightweight, single-piston EX+ LS air disc brake, as a next-generation solution designed and engineered for linehaul and trailer applications.
The new brake resulted from years of development, more than 300 lab tests and over 1 million miles of validation on the road, said T.J. Reed, vice president of Front Drivetrain and Electrification. "This new brake rounds out an industry-leading portfolio of advanced braking solutions specifically designed to serve the linehaul segment."
He said the EX+ LS was designed to meet growing fleet expectations for efficiency, safety and weight reduction, noting that it is designed and validated to the same taper wear criteria as a twin-piston brake. Its large-diameter, integrated piston and pusher plate reduce taper wear by increasing stability to deliver evenly distributed braking forces across the brake surface. The adjuster mechanism is based on existing EX+ air disc brake architecture to offer reliable and consistent brake performance.
The EX+ LS air disc brake comes standard with MA9300 N-level proprietary friction. Optional positive pad retraction is designed with the goal of maintaining friction couple running clearance to extend pad life and reduce brake drag. An optional pad wear warning indicator aids in service predictability.
Reed said fleets running EX+ LS air disc brakes on their trucks and trailers will benefit from commonality of parts within Meritor's existing EX+ L air disc brake design. They can stock fewer parts and replacement is simplified by ordering through Meritor Aftermarket.
The EX+ LS air disc brake is available globally under the ELSA air disc brake product line outside North America.
Lightweight Front Non-Drive Steer Axle
Meritor said its new MFS+ 14,000-pound capacity front non-drive steer axle is the lightest such axle available in North America for linehaul and vocational applications.
According to Reed, The MFS+ 14K axle offers weight savings up to 68 pounds compared with the existing MFS 14K axle. Its low-profile design improves overall packaging to simplify integration into the chassis. The integrated torque plate and tie rod arm is built with fewer bolted joints, reducing maintenance costs. Brakes are mounted at 12 o'clock for easy removal. The axle also offers high-angle turning capacity up to 55 degrees and universal compatibility with braking systems.
"With this new axle, we're expanding our proven MFS™ series axle architecture for the North America linehaul market to include vocational customers," Reed commented. "This evolutionary front axle offers universal compatibility with braking systems."
New Drive Axles
Meritor also announced enhancements to its 14X HE linehaul tandem drive axle and added two more drive axles designed to help OEMs meet upcoming fuel-efficiency regulations.
"We've made the 14X HE axle even more efficient than it was when we launched it less than two years ago," said James Taylor, vice president of Rear Drivetrain, NAFTA. "We're also adding two new axle products, reinforcing our commitment to enhancing the portfolio with technologies focused on efficiency."
The 14X HE axle, as well as the new RT160 HE axle for heavy-haul and vocational applications and the 17X HE axle for heavy-duty applications, are built with high-efficiency bearings, specialized gearing, fast ratios for downspeeding and the Meritor Lube Management System.
Taylor said the 14X HE tandem axle was enhanced y adding a second Meritor Lube Management System to the carrier of the forward axle. When the axle launched in 2017, only the carrier of the rear axle was equipped with the system. With the Meritor Lube Management system now on both axles, the 14X HE tandem axle will deliver more efficiency than the initial offering.
The new 17X HE axle for 4x2 and 6x2 heavy-haul applications targets a 1% efficiency improvement over Meritor's previous offering. The Meritor Lube Management system is standard, offering reduced lubrication volume, and Meritor's use of laser welding to join the ring gear and differential housing eliminates the need for bolts, which contribute to churning losses. The 1.95 fast gear ratio equips applications for downspeeding. The axle offers a gross axle weight rating of up 40,000 pounds.
Longer-Life Friction for Disc Brakes
Meritor said its new N-type brake friction is engineered for a range of GVW ratings and is validated to offer performance and durability across multiple brake systems.
"With legislation taking effect in two states [California and Washington] during 2021 and 2025 requiring reduced copper content in brake pads, our new MA9300 friction offers OEMs a solution today that complies with the 2025 laws," said Reed. "Our friction saves OEMs the time and expense of validating brake pads multiple times for various applications and weight ratings and offers the industry a green technology, which has a positive impact on the environment."
Reed said the MA9300 friction demonstrated superior pad wear and similar rotor life compared to Meritor's current offering during two years of comprehensive lab validation and more than 2.4 million miles of field testing. The friction fits Meritor EX+ L and EX+ H air-disc brakes for truck and trailer applications and is available on the aftermarket. It is interchangeable with today's A-level MA761 pads.
Lastly, Meritor announced it has joined the e-Consortium set up by Traton Group’s Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus Brazil-based truck building unit to collaborate in the development of electric commercial vehicles in Brazil.
That effort is to initially start with the launch in 2020 of the OEM's 11-ton e-Delivery truck, which is equipped with Meritor's 12X drive axle with eOptimized gearing.
Meritor said its 12Xe powertrain – also available in North America – expands the company's electrical solutions coverage into Class 4 and 5 applications, such as the VWCO e-Delivery truck. That truck, which has delivered beverages in São Paulo during a year of testing, has a range of almost 120 miles between charges.
"With our participation in the e-Consortium, we are extending our long-term strategic relationship with VWCO in Brazil," said Chris Villavarayan, senior vice president and president of Global Truck. "As demand continues to rise for electric solutions, the e-Consortium plans to develop advanced technologies for commercial vehicles today and into the future."