Echo Automotive, Inc., a developer of technologies enabling the cost-effective aftermarket addition of plug-in hybrid capability to new or existing vehicles (earlier post), plans to extend its EchoDrive plug-in hybrid system to GM 2500 and 3500 vans, including the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana, model years 2010-2014. Production is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2015.
The Chevrolet Express is second only to Ford E-Series vans in North American commercial fleet registrations, and trails only the E-Series and Dodge Caravan in government fleet registrations, according to the most recent statistics published by Business Fleet. EchoDrive currently is available for Ford E-Series vans.
|EchoDrive. Click to enlarge.|
The EchoDrive conversion system comprises a 30 kW traction motor; modular Li-ion battery pack built with 2.2 kWh modules; 650A inverter and power electronics; on-board charger; and hybrid controls. The company is targeting Class 1-5 fleet trucks, and last year entered a service agreement with Meineke Car Care Centers, Inc. and Dickenson Fleet Services to serve as a national service centers and installers.
Orders are currently being accepted and production of EchoDrive units for the E-Series platform is scheduled to begin later this year.