German automotive supplier ZF has transformed a current-generation Chevy Silverado HD into an EV using its innovative new eBeam Axle – an electrified solid rear axle designed to be used in battery-electric pickup truck and van applications.
ZF demonstrated the ability of its converted Chevy Silverado HD to a journalist from WardsAuto during the company’s Next Generation Mobility Days event at the M1 Concourse circuit in Michigan last week. The publication says the converted Silverado HD uses a single rear eBeam Axle, which is rated at 402 horsepower and 7,376 pound-feet of wheel torque, along with an off-the-shelf battery from Chinese supplier CATL and an 800V system architecture. ZF told WardsAuto its demonstration vehicle should have a towing capacity of around 10,000 pounds and would be capable of DC fast charging its 210 kWh battery from flat to full in about an hour.
The supplier did not provide a range estimate for its converted Chevy Silverado HD, as this is a demonstration vehicle intended to showcase the capabilities of the eBeam Axle only. The axle itself would be sold to manufacturers for use in production full-size pickup trucks, vans and even Class 6 trucks, so the range of the ZF demonstration vehicle with an off-the-shelf CATL battery is not relevant.
ZF is targeting a production start date of 2025 or 2026 for the eBeam Axle. It has not yet received any supply contracts from OEMs for the tech, although the drop-in solution could be an inexpensive way for automakers to convert existing fleet trucks and vans to battery-electric. ZF says the eBeam Axle can replace both front and rear axles to enable four-wheel drive, and will also be available in various power outputs ranging from 241 horsepower to 469 horsepower.
Some automakers, like GM for example, are using their own proprietary technology to shift into EVs. GM would seemingly have little use for technology like the eBeam Axle, as it has already developed its own Ultium Drive electric motors and Ultium battery pack for use in fleet vehicles like the Chevy Silverado EV WT and BrightDrop Zevo 400 and Zevo 600 vans. This technology may still be appealing to OEMs in heavier fleet vehicles, though, like the Chevy Silverado Medium Duty or Chevy Low Cab Forward, for example.