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Allison Transmission’s electric moves

Allison Transmissions has made two acquisitions in the area of electric vehicle technology

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Allison Transmission Holdings Inc., which claims to be the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions, has purchased Vantage Power and AxleTech’s electric vehicle (EV) systems division.


Allison Transmission is well known in the container handling industry, especially for its 3000 series transmission that dominates the 4x2 terminal tractor market. However, as electric terminal tractors and other electric trucks and heavy vehicles become more common the “standard” drive train of a combustion engine and mechanical transmission is under threat.


Allison is well aware of this, and says it has an “electrification strategy that leverages and extends current electric hybrid technologies, develops new electrified propulsion solutions, and expands system and integration level capabilities in alternative propulsion”. The two acquisitions are both companies that “complement its existing capabilities to advance electrification adoption in commercial vehicles,” Allison said.


Vantage Power based in the UK and specialises in developing electrified propulsion and connected vehicle technologies for medium-and heavy-duty applications. “With particular focus on battery technology development, vehicle integration and control systems, as well as vehicle connectivity and telemetry, Vantage Power technologies have been deployed in a wide range of applications including complete electric hybrid repower systems for buses to grid energy storage, “ Allison stated.


AxleTech is well known in the container handling and liftruck industry for axles, but the company has had a difficult history since it was spun out of Rockwell in 2002, then sold to the Caryle Group in 2005. In 2008 Carlye sold AxleTech to General Dynamics, only to buy the company back again in 2015.


Last year AxleTech undertook a re-branding exercise in an attempt to “reinvent itself with a focus on electrified vehicle solutions.” Earlier Hoist Liftruck had announced (before Hoist was acquired by Toyota Material Handling) that it planned to use a new range of AC wheel motors from AxleTech in a range of electric liftrucks, but as far as can be ascertained these were never launched on the market. AxleTech, however, was continually developing electric technology and earlier this month it launched its new AxleTech AFE Series e-axle, a line of electric powertrain systems for off-highway and specialty applications, at Bauma in Munich.

The new AxleTech AFE Series e-axle.
The new AxleTech AFE Series e-axle.

Carlye has now changed direction again, selling off AxleTech’s electric division to Allison. “The transaction consists exclusively of assets, intellectual property, products, and people specifically involved in AxleTech’s advanced integrated electrification solutions. The deal, finalized on April 16, affects 5% of AxleTech’s global employees. AxleTech’s core business in the commercial off-highway and defense industries, including certain non-integrated electrification solutions for off-highway and defence industries, aftermarket, and remanufacturing, will continue to operate under the ownership of The Carlyle Group,” AxleTech said in a separate announcement.


The electric AxleTech products and technology will now be combined with Allison’s electric product offerings. “The advanced integrated electric vehicle systems will fit well within our electrification strategy and support our vision of being the global leader in commercial-duty electric propulsion solutions,” said David S. Graziosi, President and CEO of Allison Transmission.

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