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Phoenix Motorcars and UQM to Develop Plug-In Series Hybrid Sport Utility Truck

The all-electric version of the Sport Utility Truck (SUT).

Phoenix Motorcars and UQM Technologies will collaborate on the development of a plug-in series hybrid model of the sport utility truck currently produced and sold by Phoenix as an all-electric vehicle. (Earlier post.)

The Phoenix Sport Utility Truck is a five-passenger dual-cab pickup truck measuring 194 inches in length with a wheelbase of 108 inches.  The plug-in hybrid model to be developed will include a small gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine for a range extender, a UQM PowerPhase 100 propulsion system—the same used in the all-electric model—and NanoSafe lithium titanate batteries from Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc.

The series hybrid configuration (battery dominant with range extender) is similar to that chosen by GM for its first Volt powertrain. Phoenix will announce further details about the configuration of the powertrain and operating strategy in the future.

The development of a plug-in hybrid model of our sport utility truck is an important expansion of our model offering that we expect will meet the needs of a broader range of customers. Plug-in hybrids offer the opportunity to operate the vehicle in the most common driving environments in all-electric mode, saving money and reducing emissions, while maintaining the flexibility to travel cross-country.

We believe a potentially large market will develop for this category of vehicle and we intend to develop a high performing vehicle that our customers can be excited to own and drive.

—Dan Elliott, President and CEO, Phoenix Motorcars



Great news.

Greg woulf

I was hoping with the fast recharge they could be the first to pull off a pure electric with no performance drawbacks.

Just the same, I think this will gain them market share because of the extended range.


Horrible news. This is going backwards! If you want a range extender, bolt on a small generator in the bed and plug the damn thing in. Done.



I imagine that said generator would be far worse in terms of efficiency and emissions than a standard vehicle ICE. I don't see how this is "going backwards". The market for PHEVs is likely larger than for a pure EV, and will thus have a greater impact on overall emissions.


I found the article a little confusing. Still, I agree with Richard.

It probably is possible to have a small ICE w/generator carried in the truck bed. Remove it when not needed, use it for longer trips. My estimate $3000-$5000 for a first class job.

But exhaust, sound, and gasoline fumes must be dealt with as soon as an ICE w/generator is added. That is why I suspect they would be better off increasing battery capacity to increase range.


Richard & K

That is what a SERIES Hybrid is! A Small ICE that turns a generator which recharges the batteries. The ICE DOES NOT TURN THE WHEELS DIRECTLY! The electric motor(s) turn the wheels using battery power, and maybe directly from the generator when needed.

A PARALLEL Hybrid is like a Prius. The ICE applies power directly to the wheels, with assistance from the electric motor.

The Phoenix/UQM is a SERIES Hybrid!


On the other hand... Although this article says it is a Series hybrid, the press release on the UQM web site does not specifically say if it will be a Series Hybrid or a Parallel Hybrid...


Parallel or series hybrid, its still ICE...& manifolds, injectors, catalytic converters, mufflers, gas tanks, stuff & nonsense. My 1988 Ford Festiva averaged 45MPG. Just not worth going to a hybrid. Just put extra batteries in the Phoenix. Just transport me & my work clothes & helmet to work. I'll sit next to more batteries. Also build Phoenix so you can adapt to more efficient batteries when they come out....better yet, nano ultracapacitors. But I'm sure they won't be able to upgrade. Hurry up folks! No, don't go that way. Go the right direction!


I think it's great news. All electric would be ideal IF the batteries could charge within 10 minutes, anywhere, guaranteed, but, they can't. A special (expensive) rapid charger is needed to charge on-the-quick. Normal charging time is closer to 6 hours. A small, (hopefully efficient) backup (bio-fueled) generator would be great to allow the batteries to be charged, while camping, on long trips, hauling heavy junk, etc.

Stan Peterson

More words written about a vehicle that if ever actually constructed, will never be produced in quantity. Its not sufficient to replace the ink, paper, and electrons, wasted in it's description and P R vapor-ware, of the "vapor truck".

Stan Peterson

More words written about a vehicle that if ever actually constructed, will never be produced in quantity. Its not sufficient to replace the ink, paper, and electrons, wasted in it's description and P R vapor-ware, of the "vapor truck".

Stan Peterson

More words written about a vehicle that if ever actually constructed, will never be produced in quantity. Its not sufficient to replace the ink, paper, and electrons, wasted in it's description and P R vapor-ware, of the "vapor truck".


dwf: what words did I use that indicate I didn't know what a series hybrid was?


If it truly is a series hybrid, then the ICE will not come on until the battery discharges below a certain level, or if additional electricity is needed for passing or hills. It will probably have mode selection options. One mode for pure electric where the ICE does not come on at all unless the battery gets below some low level like maybe 15% power. A normal mode where the ICE only comes on when the power drops below some higher level like 50 - 85%, or if extra electricity is needed. And a performance mode, where the ICE is constantly running to give maximum power for high electric loads (hauling cargo or fast acceleration). The ICE would be SMALL (just big enough to power a generator), probably flex-fuel, and since it normally won't be running all the time it can deliver very high overall gas mileage (100+ mpg?) running mostly on batteries. You can not meet everybody's needs using pure EV, so stop knocking the compromises.


K: "It probably is possible to have a small ICE w/generator carried in the truck bed."

To me, that says you didn't know a series hybrid was the same thing, just built-in elsewhere so it isn't in the way of your cargo. That, and agreeing with Richard. ;)

The ICE/Generator would probably weigh less than extra batteries and take up less room, and give a range longer than you can take in one sitting.


Stan: Is that a studder, or do you think that if you say it enough times it will become true?

The ICE version of the truck is already in production in Korea (SsangYong Motors' Actyon Sports truck). The Phoenix Motors EV version is a conversion using currently available technology. The Hybrid will either be the original ICE version with batteries and electric assist motor(s) for a Parallel Hybrid, or the EV conversion with a small ICE and generator for a Series Hybrid.


This is a transitional technology play, and will ease us out of our oil addiction, I only wish it was a bio-diesel gen-set.

I also hope someone figures out how to apply this architecture to an F150, that would help the transition of the large volume auto makers

All in all a very good step

joe padula

A series hybrid engine can be more efficent since it can run a a fixed speed or load and operate in the converter's sweet spot.It can also have a turbo without the tricks you need to prevent turbo lag, cam phase shifting is not needed, or cylinder unloading, etc. etc. It must be pzev in emmissions or I will complain as a stockholder.
It should get the highest mpg L/Km of any in its class.

Stan: Do you think the Phoenix truck BEV is vaporware too?


dwf: if that said I didn't know what.....etc. then you are trying pretty hard to make a fight.

I agreed with Richard - this is not where Phoenix should go. True, it can extend range and allow some operation where fast recharge is not available. But is that where Phoenix has a real market?

Phoenix will live or die by selling light vehicles to municipal agencies and local merchant deliveries, craftsmen, etc. Those vehicles aren't often going far away from the base charger - twenty miles maybe. Fast recharging can be done during lunch or breaks as well as at night.

And even 110v, available almost anywhere - can provide an emergency charge at a slower rate.

About bolting a generator to the bed. I differed with Richard and pointed out it is not simple. You must deal with exhaust routing and emissions, ease of refilling, fumes, and muffling. I might add the center of gravity shifts up. And if you build that stuff into the frame then you face a lot of expense.

So I repeat. Where did I say what a series hybrid was?


Who's the one trying to pick a fight here? I'm not the one with a chip on their shoulder... jeeze...

EDIT: Change "Richard & K" to "Richard"

There... you happy now???


dwf: yes!

Yes, words fail us all.

These matters often come up because the blogs allow, even encourage, unstudied responses. So I try to work closely to the topic and to exactly what was said and not said. Even though I fail I do try.

About two months ago I ran into a really bad situation. I wrote something as 'K' and someone disagreed. After I rebutted the person started writing messages signed as 'K' himself. Needless to say, they were not nice messages.

I have a stake in Phoenix. Not as a direct stockholder (it is private). So I wish them well. One maxim I have about ventures is 'keep your product line and message simple.'


Richard and K want the vehicle to have a *removable* range extender genset, right? Their complaint about the ICE is that it is not *removable*, right? This has no bearing on their understanding of what a series hybrid is or is not. They just don't want to lug that extra weight around when they will be running off the charge in the battery.


But they both said they wanted extra batteries. This would probably weigh the same, if not more than a genset and certainly cost more.

Bill Young

A previous news item in March said that Phoenix had sold 4 of the straight electric trucks to a California Utility. I hope this item doesn't mean that their sales stalled after 4 units. The news item is not real clear that the utility had actually taken delivery.

A check on the Phoenix web site sounds like the truck is still in crash testing and is not yet certified. It is possible that further sales will occur after certification.

Personally, I'm pulling for Phoenix and hope they make it. I don't know if their business model goes beyond California sales (they are depending on reselling some sort of green credits based on BEV sales in California to balance their costs). I would love to have one of their SUV models but I live on the wrong coast.


Scott: K actually said nothing like your first two sentences. But, no matter, I can see you are paying attention to the distinction between ICE/generation and defining a serial hybrid.

In fact, I discussed (twice) why a removable ICE/g did not seem very good and why I don't think Phoenix should be fooling with one whether the ICE/g is integral or can be detached.

James: You got closer. I commented that added battery power seemed a better route to more range than what was announced. And I meant that only about Phoenix and not every car company in the world.

My reasoning: This hybrid can't get Phoenix any zero emission sales but more battery power can. And Phoenix has already paid the cost to develop their vehicle structure and electronics. Why complicate that? Long range - where serial ICE should someday excel - is a different market.

I certainly can't say more battery power is cheap. If you want cheap don't make electrics at all.

p.s. A possiblility: if Phoenix is looking for an IPO or buyout then announcing a hybrid might 'tart up' the offering.

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