A German consortium is partnering to design an optimized axle module for commercial vehicles. Known as ESKAAM (for Electric, Scalable Axle Module), the design is meant to be an alternative to current driving axles, which typically are too heavy, large and expensive for electric vehicles.

The project is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and consists of 11 partners.

The axle module will have a motor, gearbox and power electronics that fit into a shared housing, and attached to the vehicle using special frame construction. The axle will have a high power density and torque to offer faster acceleration; the ESKAM motor reportedly has been clocked speeds of 20,000 rpm.

The module will be flexible enough to meet the needs of several different vehicles—everything from small vans and municipal vehicles to buses and trucks. The partners hope to have the axle module fit into a vehicle for testing by the end of 2015.

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