We were able to tow over 10,000 pounds in an electrified GMC Sierra during Magna’s ‘Tech Week’
During a media day for Magna International’s “Tech Week,” we were able to visit the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, to test out some of the contract manufacturer’s electrified technologies. This included a BEV-converted GMC Sierra 2500 using Magna’s Etelligent Force 4WD powertrain. With it, we were able to experience the system’s 14,500 lb towing capacity and drive other unique EVs as well.
Magna International and its electrified technology
Even if you haven’t heard of Magna International, chances are you’ve driven a vehicle with at least one component produced by the subcontractor. At his “Tech Week” event in Pontiac, Michigan, Magna CEO Swamy Kotagiri detailed some of the company’s production numbers.
In total, Magna has produced over 3.7 million vehicles across thirty different models for ten different OEM customers, including Ford, Rivian, GM and soon Fisker. In 2021 alone, Magna achieved $36 billion in revenue, cementing its title as the largest contract manufacturer in North America and the fourth largest in the world.
As the auto industry as a whole shifts dramatically towards electrified models, Magna has followed suit. Developing everything from electrified powertrains to battery boxes and ADAS systems, Magna provides multiple OEMs with the technology and components needed to go all-EV. Here’s a quick recap of some of the electrified technologies we’ve covered Magna in the past:
Testing electrified models in Michigan with Magna
After covering this electrified technology from afar, Magna International was kind enough to invite us to the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan to experience it first hand. This included Magna’s eDS Low CE 3-in-1 eDrive front axle system, currently featured on the Volkswagen ID.4.
The cool thing about this electric motor is that it’s made without rare-earth materials, making it more durable and cost-effective.
Behind this in-line electric vehicle was a Tesla Model S equipped with Magna’s EtelligentDrive system. This 3-in-1 eDrive system uses one motor at the front axle and two at the rear linked by a summation gearbox with clutch-based torque vectoring. The result is a Tesla sedan with 480kW of total power that was built years before the Model S Plaid was released; it is currently one of the earliest examples of Magna’s electrified expertise.
The Arcfox αT, an electrified model sold in China through a joint venture between Magna and Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd (BJEV), was one of the most interesting BEVs to drive at the event. magna.
I was able to drive the FWD version in Concourse M1 and was thrilled at the opportunity to drive a Chinese EV, a market I have a particular adoration for. The design itself was very European and I thought the ride was smooth. Nothing too flashy or luxurious, but nothing to scoff at either. The overall quality of performance was certainly apparent.
The dual-motor AWD version of the αT comes with either 67.3 or 93.6 kWh battery capacity, offering NEDC ranges of between 525 and 708 km (326 and 440 miles). It can accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 180 km/h (~112 mph).
Towing with Magna’s Etelligent Force technology
The one electrified model most journalists were clamoring to drive was the GMC Sierra equipped with Magna’s EtelligentForce technology. Magna had two of the Sierras available to drive, so my first laps were in the electrified pickup without the trailer to experience the truck itself.
EtelligentForce is a 4WD powertrain system for passenger trucks and light-duty vehicles that electrifies vehicle capability without compromising payload or towing.
Magna’s eBeam is part of the system and can help OEMs electrify existing ladder frame chassis without having to start over with a basic platform. eBeam also helps provide 14,500 lbs. of towing capacity, which was on display at the M1 during our road tests.
While consumers will soon be able to purchase a fully electric GMC Sierra Denali pickup truck, we got to experience towing tech early on using a GMC Sierra 2500 combustion model made electric with Magna’s EtelligentDrive powertrain swapped in.
The electrified pickup was smooth-riding, offering regenerative braking while towing over 10,000 pounds on a trailer behind it. Magna’s EtelligentDrive system is available on Class 1-6 vehicles. Here’s the GMC electrified pickup in action:
Magna’s future prospects for EV technology
After hearing from the company’s CEO, there’s plenty to be optimistic about as Magna continues to expand its arsenal of EV technology. Its eDrive components will appear in more electric vehicles from OEMs in the future, including the Fisker Ocean which begins production with Magna in Austria this fall. Additional vehicles include an unnamed China OEM in 2023 (Magna currently manufactures for NIO and XPeng, so it’s likely one of those two), and a US OEM in 2024.
One of Magna’s main focuses for the future will be its battery boxes, which have already been developed and implemented in electric vehicles such as the Ford F-150 Lightning and the GMC Hummer EV pickup. Magna’s CEO didn’t say which future models he would supply boxes for, but the company is confident it will continue to work with those same automakers in the future.
Kotagiri explained that Magna’s case manufacturing is both material and process independent, meaning it can design and build EV battery cases to any customer’s specifications.
The best part is that every electric vehicle needs one, so Magna is in a lucrative position to meet the growing demand for such components. Kotagiri also shared that Magna is investing around $500 million to expand battery box assembly lines over the next three years.
All in all, it was a cool trip to Michigan to see a bunch of EV tech – which we’ve been covering for years – working in real life. There’s a lot to do at Magna as the company continues to make money with no signs of slowing down as it turns to electrification.
FTC: We use revenue-generating automatic affiliate links. After.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.