The Amsted Electro-Mechanical E-axle Disconnect Solution is the Missing Link in Efficient and High-Performing AWD and 4WD Electrified Propulsion

The demand for electric vehicle (EV) technology has seen exponential growth in the past several years. This is driven by many countries mandating electric propulsion as a high percentage of new vehicle sales in the very near future as well as customer demand. However, customer demand also dictates that a significant volume of vehicles need to be SUVs, crossovers and light-duty trucks with four-wheel-drive (4WD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability – something that is not easily achieved with an electric drivetrain. Until now. MEANS Industries, an Amsted Automotive Group company, addresses this key drivetrain issue with the Dynamic Controllable Clutch, an Electro-Mechanical E-axle Disconnect system. More than a concept, this system is currently launching in production on a suite of 4WD electric vehicles.

This innovative disconnect system seamlessly engages and disengages front and rear electric drivetrains, enabling near instantaneous torque vectoring while also conserving energy and extending vehicle range.

“The Missing Link in Efficient and High-Performing AWD and 4WD Electrified Propulsion: The MEANS Industries Dynamic Controllable Clutch System – an Electro-Mechanical E-axle Disconnect Solution”

The Electro-Mechanical E-axle Disconnect system was necessary technology for EVs because traditional internal-combustion engine (ICE) powertrains were not engineered for the unique parameters and characteristics found in electric propulsion systems. These traditional clutches, such as hydraulic or even electrically actuated dog clutches, dramatically increase power losses and system mass. They also prove to be difficult to calibrate and are not the best solution for the instantaneous actuation desired by consumers.

While these two types of clutches can be integrated well into appropriate ICE-based powertrain systems, their shortcomings are compounded when used in an electric propulsion system – where hydraulics have been all but eliminated. EV powertrains favor mechatronic solutions that are easily calibrated and draw very little power for engagement and holding state. However, DCC technology uses electric actuation to create substantial packaging and system efficiencies by eliminating complex hydraulic systems.

DCC provides the benefits of latching in state without a constant power supply. Hydraulic control is eliminated, as are the associated costs and complexities. Even electrical requirements are reduced, as power is only consumed during state transition. Electro-Mechanical E-axle Disconnect application of the DCC provides efficient and unnoticeable engagement and disengagement of the front and rear electric drivetrain from the drive axles, while maintaining full on-road and off-road capability.