The annual North American International Auto Show, unlike most similar events in the US, is remarkably well attended by automotive suppliers as well as major OEMs like Bosch. The tier one supplier used the latest show to debut its new eAxle, a compact unit that’s modular and scalable in design.
As you’ll see in the video, the eAxle really is a lot more compact than combining the company’s current individual systems together. “We can realize five-to-ten percent efficiency over standalone components when we move to an integrated unit,” explained Bosch’s Jon Poponea. Look in an electric vehicle on the roads right now, and you’ll probably see a whole bunch of different components, all connected with thick orange-wrapped leads.
But the eAxle packages the inverter together with the motor/generator unit, making for easier packaging, fewer wires, and decreased manufacturing costs. The lowest power output version is 50kW (67hp), but it can be specced up to 300kW (402hp). What’s more, it can also be had as either a permanent magnet or induction motor. Poponea explained that the former is more common to rear axle installations, the latter as a front axle motor providing boost to the powertrain. “It comes down to OEM strategy, and we can certainly support that,” he told Ars.
Bosch certainly thinks there’s a market for the eAxle. It cited internal research that “showed 62 percent of US new car buyers believe they will own at least one full-electric vehicle in their household within 10 years or less,” although interestingly it also noted a significant minority of holdouts—32 percent indicating they would not be interested in buying or leasing an EV within the next 15 years.