QOTD: Which Model Could Use a Dose of Electricity?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Yesterday’s post about Nissan’s struggle to adapt its novel e-Power system to larger, American-friendly vehicles reminded this writer of a product Bosch unveiled last year. Called the eAxle, the compact, lightweight unit is comprised of an electric motor, associated electronics, and transmission.

Basically, it would allow an automaker to easily and cheaply convert a vehicle to electric drive, or include it as part of a gas/electric hybrid offering. Outfitted with an eAxle in the rear, a car could actually become two wholly distinct vehicles — a conventional front-drive, gas-powered vehicle as well as a rear-drive battery electric vehicle. A 201 horsepower eAxle apparently weighs less than 200 pounds installed, and Bosch claims it can downsize and upsize the unit to deliver between 60 and 400 horses.

Intriguing. After reading about it last year, I entertained fantasies of switching off my car’s ICE while stuck in traffic and going gas-free rear-drive, then switching back while on the highway. Or maybe I could turn my lowly economy car into a gas/electric all-wheel-drive monster.

How would you put the eAxle to work?

With its so-called “start-up powertrain,” Bosch claims the all-in-one design kept wiring and cooling hardware to a minimum, thus further reducing size and cost. The supplier hopes automakers take note when the eAxle enters mass production next year. It could be just the thing for a car company looking for a quick and easy way to add electric propulsion to their stable.

Bosch’s technology soon drew interest from startup long-haul truck maker Nikola Motor Company, which hopes to put a fleet of hydrogen/electric semis on the road by 2021. The two companies entered into a partnership last fall to use eAxle technology as the basis of the vehicle’s powertrain. (Luckily, the unit is scalable to up to 4,425 lb-ft of torque.)

It remains to be seen whether Bosch’s creation generates much interest from conventional automakers. However, as this a hypothetical exercise, we’d like to know how you’d use it. What vehicle out there today (or maybe tomorrow) could use a high-torque electric motor powering its front or rear wheels? And which model(s) stand to benefit most from a dual-propulsion system, providing drivers with two distinct driving experiences while eliminating range anxiety?

It’s up to you. Sound off in the comments.

[Images: Bosch]

Steph Willems
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  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Defender looks way better than the Bronco in both 2-door and 4-door.
  • ToolGuy I found this particular episode to be incredibly offensive.I am shocked that eBay Motors is supporting this kind of language and attitudes in 2024.I will certainly keep this in mind next time I am choosing where to buy auto parts (I buy a LOT of auto parts).
  • SaulTigh When I was young in the late 80's one of my friends had the "cool dad." You know the guy, first to buy a Betamax and a C-band satellite dish. Couple of stand up arcade games in the den. Bought my friend an Atari 2600 as soon as they came out. He had two of these crap heaps. One that only ran half the time and one for parts in the yard. My middle school brain though he was the most awesome dad ever, buying us pizza and letting us watch R rated movies recorded on free HBO weekend. At the time I though he was much better than my boring father.Now with adult hindsight, I now know he was "dad who should have taken better care of his family" and not had so many toys.
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  • Jeff How did the discussion get from an article about a 56 billion dollar pay package for Elon Musk to a proposal to charge a per mile tax on EVs in California or paying increase registration on vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenue? I thought such a discussion would better fit Matt's Gas Wars series.