Magna shows how heavy-duty pickups can go all-electric without lower towing, payload

Automotive supplier Magna on Wednesday unveiled an electric powertrain and four-wheel drive system for pickup trucks and light commercial vehicles that’s scheduled to reach production by 2025. While several automakers are launching electric half-ton pickup trucks, Magna’s solution, dubbed EtelligentForce, is designed for larger three-quarter ton and one-ton vehicles, according to a company press release—heavy-duty […]

Automotive supplier Magna on Wednesday unveiled an electric powertrain and four-wheel drive system for pickup trucks and light commercial vehicles that’s scheduled to reach production by 2025.

While several automakers are launching electric half-ton pickup trucks, Magna’s solution, dubbed EtelligentForce, is designed for larger three-quarter ton and one-ton vehicles, according to a company press release—heavy-duty trucks, essentially.

EtelligentForce builds on Magna’s eBeam, a modular solution that combines an electric motor with a solid beam axle. Drive components are packaged between a truck’s existing frame rails, providing a way to make trucks into plug-in hybrids while preserving towing capacity.

Magna EtelligentForce

Magna EtelligentForce

The new system takes things a step further by adding another electric drive unit for the front axle. The front motor can deliver up to 180 kilowatts (241 horsepower), while the rear eBeam can be tuned for 250 kw to 430 kw (335 hp to 576 hp), according to Magna.

Magna claims this setup doesn’t require any architectural changes to the vehicle, and allows for up to 14,500 pounds of towing capacity—although with battery packs weighing thousands of pounds, we’re not sure how big of a pack is allowed for in that calculation.

The company didn’t confirm a North American customer, but said it’s targeting production beginning in 2025. Magna also plans to open a new EV center at its United States headquarters in Troy, Michigan, to continue development of the EtelligentForce powertrain and other projects.

Magna e4 technology demonstrator (Jaguar I-Pace)

Magna e4 technology demonstrator (Jaguar I-Pace)

Those other projects include a powertrain upgrade for cars, called EtelligentReach, that Magna claims can deliver a 30% range boost. The company previously said EtelligentReach will debut on a “new entrant vehicle” this year.

The supplier isn’t shy about pointing out how it might refine designs for better performance and range. Both EtelligentReach and another powertrain we sampled in 2020 were demonstrated on the Jaguar I-Pace, which is also built by the company’s Magna-Steyr division in Austria.

Magna-Steyr is also expected to build the Fisker Ocean, and Magna is supplying some tech for that crossover as well.