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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Analysis finds air-quality justification for CNG vehicle conversion in developing cities, despite negative climate impact

December 03, 2013

Impact pathway approach for modeling policy interventions in (a) air quality and (b) climate impacts. Credit: ACS, Zia and Tanzila. Click to enlarge.

An analysis by a team in Bangladesh found large air quality and associated health benefits accruing to the residents of Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) as a result of the rapid conversion of the motor vehicle fleet to CNG. Around 2,045 avoided premature deaths in greater Dhaka can be attributed to air quality improvements from the CNG conversion policy in 2010, resulting in a saving of around US$400 million, they found.

However, CNG conversion was apparently detrimental from a climate change perspective, as CH4 emissions increased. (There is some uncertainty over the impact of ultrafine particulates.) As the greenhouse gas impacts (costs or benefits) are much smaller than the health benefits, the conversion of petroleum vehicles to CNG can be justified on the basis of local air pollution benefits alone, they concluded. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Omnitek selects DD 12.7L Series 60 and Cat C15 engine models for diesel-to-gas conversion project at Port of Seattle

November 04, 2013

Omnitek Engineering Corporation has selected the 12.7 L Detroit Diesel Series 60 and the Caterpillar C15 engine models for the beginning of the second phase of a Puget Sound Clean Air Agency pilot project, which includes the development of diesel-to-natural gas engine conversion kits for these engine models and obtaining Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval.

Omnitek’s diesel-to-natural gas engine conversion system was selected as the best technology under the competitive grant process for the agency’s “Piloting Engine Upgrade Technologies in the Freight Mobility Sector” project. (Earlier post.)

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XL Hybrids introduces 3rd generation hybrid system for Class 1-4 trucks; XL3 features in-line motor to ease upfitting

October 01, 2013

XL Hybrids’ third-generation inline post transmission motor and system components. Click to enlarge.

XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1 to 4 commercial fleet use (earlier post), unveiled its third-generation XL3 product release for model year 2014 vehicles. The XL3 system features a patent-pending inline traction motor system design, the newest upgrade for its hybrid conversion system.

The new inline (post-transmission) motor delivers the same output power rating (40 kW peak) as the preceding system, which used a motor installed in parallel to the existing drivetrain along with a 1.8 kWh Li-ion battery pack, said Justin Ashton, VP Business Development and co-founder. From a system-level perspective, the XL3 will deliver the same level of fuel economy, the same overall system efficiency Ashton said—but with lower cost components and lower cost installation.

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PHEV powertrain company ALTe in new commercial vehicle JV in China with Henan Benma; target 10K units/year

March 21, 2013

ALTe Powertrain Technologies (ALTe), developer of a range-extended plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) powertrain for light commercial fleet vehicle applications (earlier post), will establish a new commercial vehicle manufacturing Joint Venture with the Henan Benma Company (Benma) in the Henan province of China.

Henan Benma was originally part of a $200-million “mega JV”—MESA Industrial Technology Corporation—announced in August 2012, which would have seen the opening of four factories in 4 provinces in China. (Earlier post.) However, that structure with became unwieldy, explained John Thomas, ALTe Chairman, President and CEO. Two investors split off from the original 4 entity investor group. MESA is still moving forward as a powertrain entity with just one lead investor based in Beijing, Thomas said, while Henan Benma, which was part of the original MESA deal, moved out to do a specific and higher level vehicle OEM deal with ALTe in their province.

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Axion Power and ePower Engine Systems enter 5-year agreement for use of PbC batteries in diesel-electric drivetrains for Class 8 trucks; tests suggest up to 35% improvement in fuel economy

March 04, 2013

Axion Power International, Inc, the developer of advanced lead-carbon PbC batteries and energy storage systems (earlier post), has entered a strategic relationship with ePower Engine Systems LLC. ePower Engine Systems specializes in the retrofit and conversion of diesel-powered Class 8 trucks into series hybrid-powered units inspired by the diesel-electric drives in locomotives—i.e., the diesel engine powers a generator that in turn provides power directly to the traction motors.

ePower Engine Systems has consented to a five-year initial term with Axion Power that includes the exclusive use of Axion’s PbC batteries, and battery management systems in all ePower retrofits and conversions.

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XL Hybrids enters installation and distribution partnership with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products; expands hybrid drive system to Ford E-series vans

February 28, 2013

XLHUnderVan copy
XL Hybrids hybrid drive unit in place. Click to enlarge.

XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1 to 3 commercial fleet use (earlier post), signed a non-exclusive installation partnership and distribution agreement with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP), one of the top commercial vehicle upfitters. Leggett & Platt CVP will incorporate XL Hybrids’ hybrid powertrain directly into its existing ship-thru process, thus providing a one-stop shopping experience for commercial fleets.

The two companies will display a hybrid cargo van upfitted with XL Hybrids’ parallel hybrid powertrain technology at the Leggett & Platt CVP Booth at the 2013 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana next week.

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