During the media day for Magna International “Technology Week,” we have to visit Hall M1 in Pontiac, Michigan to test some of the electrified technology contracted by the manufacturer. This included the GMC Sierra 2500, converted to BEV using a Magna Etelligent Force 4WD transmission. With it, we were able to experience towing a system weighing 14,500 pounds and also drive some other unique EVs.
Magna International and its electrified technologies
Even if you haven’t heard of Magna International, you can be sure that you’ve driven a vehicle that rents one component manufactured by a contract manufacturer. During the “Technology Week” event in Pontiac, Michigan, Magna CEO Swami Katagiri spoke in detail about some of the company’s production figures.
In total, Magna has produced more than 3.7 million cars in thirty different models for ten different OEM customers, including Ford, Rivian, GM, and soon, Fisker. In 2021 alone, Magna received $ 36 billion in sales, consolidating its title as the largest contract manufacturer in North America and fourth in the world.
As the automotive industry as a whole shifts sharply towards electrified models, Magna has followed suit. Designing everything from electrified power units to battery cases and ADAS systems, Magna provides several OEMs with the technology and components to move to electronic power plants. Here is a brief summary of some of the electrified technologies we’ve reviewed from Magna in the past:
Testing electrified models in Michigan with Magna
After embracing this electrified technology from afar, Magna International was kind enough to invite us to the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan to experience it at a glance. This included the Magna eDS Low CE 3-in-1 eDrive front axle system, which is currently present at Volkswagen ID.4.
What is interesting about this electric motor is that it is made without rare earth materials, which makes it more sustainable and cost effective.
Behind this EV was the Tesla Model S, equipped with the Magna EtelligentDrive system. This 3-in-1 eDrive system uses an engine on the front axle and two on the rear axle, combined with a common gearbox with a torque vector based on the clutch. The result is a Tesla sedan with a total capacity of 480 kW, which was built years earlier model S plaid came out; he is now an early example of Magna’s electrified experience.
One of the most exciting BEVs available for driving during the Magna event was the Arcfox αT, an electrified model sold in China. as part of a joint venture between Magna and Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd. (BJEV).
I had to ride the FWD version on the M1 Hall and was thrilled with the opportunity to ride the Chinese EV, a market I especially love. The design itself was very European and I thought it was a smooth movement all over. Nothing too flashy or luxurious, but also nothing to mock. The overall quality of execution, of course, was obvious.
The αT version with two engines and full attachment comes with a battery capacity of 67.3 or 93.6 kW / h, providing a NEDC range of 525-708 km (326-440 miles). It can accelerate to 100 km / h (62 mph) in 4.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 180 km / h (~ 112 mph).
Towing with Magna Etelligent Force technology
One electrified model that most journalists wanted to ride was the GMC Sierra, equipped with Magna EtelligentForce technology. The Magna had two Sierra options for driving, so my first few wheels ran on an electrified pickup truck without a trailer to test the truck itself.
EtelligentForce is a 4WD transmission system for passenger trucks and light commercial vehicles that electrifies the vehicle’s capabilities without compromising its payload or towing.
eBeam from Magna is part of the system and can help OEMs electrify existing stair chassis without having to start all over again with a ground platform. eBeam also helps ensure the payload of £ 14,500 that was exhibited on the M1 during our test drives.
While consumers will soon be able to buy fully electric GMC Sierra Denali pickupwe learned early about towing technology using the GMC Sierra 2500 internal combustion model, manufactured with an electric drive with a replaced EtelligentDrive transmission from Magna.
The electrified pickup truck drove smoothly, offering regenerative braking, towing more than £ 10,000 on a trailer behind. The Magna EtelligentDrive system is available on cars of grades 1 to 6. Here is an electrified GMC pickup in action:
Magna’s prospects for the future of electronic technology
Hearing from the company’s CEO, there’s a lot to be optimistic about as Magna continues to grow its EV technology arsenal. Its eDrive components will appear in an increasing number of EVs from OEMs, including Fisker Ocean, production of which will begin this fall at Magna in Austria. Additional vehicles include an unnamed OEM in China in 2023 (currently Magna manufacturers NIO and XPeng, so this is probably one of the two), and an American OEM in 2024.
The main focus of Magna, which looks ahead, will be its battery cases, which are already designed and implemented in EV, as Ford F-150 Lightning and GMC Hummer EV pickup. Magna’s CEO has not specified for which future models it will provide enclosures, but the company is confident it will continue to work with the same automakers in the future.
Kotagiri explained that the production of Magna enclosures is independent of both materials and processing, which means it can design and build battery enclosures for EVs according to the requirements of any customer.
The best thing is that every EV needs it, so Magna is in a profitable position to ensure a growing demand for such components. Kotagiri also shared that Magna is investing about $ 500 million in expanding battery case assembly lines over the next three years.
All in all, it was a cool trip to Michigan to see how a bunch of EV technologies we’ve been looking at for years work in real life. Magna has a lot to expect as the company continues to make money with no signs of slowing down as it moves to electrification.
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