The aim of this paper is to present the main principles of building the traction electric drive (TED) of the wheels of a heavy-duty road commercial vehicle.A high importance is given to the complex nature of designing and summing up the practical experience of making particular designs of the traction electric drive; as well as to the involved terms and definitions.The design of the AC TED with asynchronous motors and an AC generator looks most promising and having the best price/quality ratio. The paper considers its traction and operation characteristics, control and automatic regulation, and a mathematical model of TED as a subsystem of the general mathematical model of the vehicle.The efficiency of vehicles with TED was estimated through the criterion of the limit average motion speed along the preset route, namely, the technically achievable (possible) average speed of covering the route.The efficiency evaluation process in simulation takes into account the distribution of the number of restrictions of the travel speed among the vehicle systems, caused by imperfections of this or that system. It allows detecting the vehicle units, which restrict its maximum speed. The speed restriction of the vehicle on the route is estimated through the terms of traction dynamics and passage ability, and ensuring the soft riding level, as established for the transported cargo, the vehicle and the crew. In the process of simulation, the efficiency of the vehicles with TED was also estimated through standard traction-dynamic characteristics.It has allowed designing the practical TED solutions, making a prototype and experimentally studying an automobile with TED. The paper describes the main solutions implemented in the prototype with TED.