UQM Technologies says it has started a development and production programme with Eaton’s Vehicle Group and Pi Innovo, both located in Michigan for a 2-speed EV transmission.

The alliance calls for Eaton to develop and supply to UQM a 2-speed transmission for an EV application, while 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 a full electric drivetrain system known as UQM PowerPhaseDT.

The company says the benefits of the system will allow customers in the medium and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in areas of gradability, acceleration and efficiency.

The Eaton 2-speed transmission provides a greater speed and torque range from what would normally be possible in a direct drive system, allowing a smaller electric motor to drive large vehicles.

The company also maintains the drivetrain allows for better packaging, efficiency, greater payload capacity and lower cost when compared with direct drive or single speed drivetrain strategies.

“Perhaps the biggest benefit is the fact the 2-speed transmission keeps the electric motor operating in the highest efficiency region for a greater portion of the drive cycle,” said UQM technology VP, Josh Ley.