ICE Transmission Specialist Tremec Shifting to BEVs


ICE Transmission Specialist Tremec Shifting to BEVs

NOVI, MI – The supplier behind the hot dual-clutch gearboxes in the latest Chevrolet Stingray and Ford Shelby GT500 isn’t letting electrification leave it in the dust.

Transmission specialist Tremec is applying its knowledge of powertrains to develop drive units for electric vehicles, starting with compact electronic drive units capable of doubling output in the same packaging space.

“Our intent going into this market was power density,” says Matt Memmer, director of engineering and program management.

Tremec’s 2-motor EDU weighs just 243 lbs. (110 kg) but produces 600 kW, equal to 800 hp, and encompasses all of the parts – engine, transmission and differential – required in a similar 800-hp rear-wheel-drive, internal-combustion performance car.

Memmer adds the twin-motor unit is compact enough to fit in the space occupied by a single, rear-drive motor in an application such as the Ford Mach-E in which the motor weighs about the same but produces less than half the horsepower of the Tremec unit.

Tremec is going after three markets for its performance EDU:

  • Traditional OEMs that want to offer a performance version of an existing or planned BEV. “We want to do the performance niche platform,” Memmer says, similar to high-performance versions of Ford Mustang or Dodge Charger/Challenger ICE models.
  • Specialty OEMs with low volumes that lack in-house teams to build full performance options. Tremec has a history of developing performance components for its ICE customers including Ferrari, Maserati and McLaren, Memmer notes.
  • Aftermarket ICE conversions, providing OEM-quality validation of components needed to convert an existing classic to late-model performance car to electric. “More and more, we’re seeing that industry starting to take off,” Memmer says.

Memmer says Tremec can provide a cost-effective option for OEMs that want to offer performance models while trying to manage the cost of developing BEVs for mass markets. Tremec’s niche, building for 5,000- to 10,000-unit specialty vehicles, is similar to the kind of work the supplier does on the ICE side of the business, Memmer notes. Motor controls and cooling systems also play roles in the systems, allowing Tremec to deliver a specific performance experience tailored to a vehicle.

Memmer says Tremec’s plans call for offering low-volume specialty vehicles for OEMs beginning in 2024-2025, ramping up to higher, 10,000-vehicle-per-year volumes by 2028.

“Now is the right time for us to get in there,” he says.

For now, as the company ramps up its BEV business, ICE dual-clutch transmission production is cranking along at this Michigan plant that started production to support the mid-engine Chevrolet Stingray.

The company’s 125,000-sq.-ft. (11,613-sq.-m) manufacturing plant here produces six dual-clutch transmission variants and is increasing capacity to 14 variants and 50,000 units annually, says Kevin Hogberg, plant manager.

“We’re the pinnacle of ICE transmission production,” Hogberg says.