Enova Systems Shows Ze, Outlines Planned Improvements in School Bus Plug-in Hybrid Drive
SAIC-GM-Wuling to Export Mini-Commercial Vehicles to South America, Middle East and North Africa

Eaton to Support Project to Develop and Deploy Medium-Duty Plug-in Hybrid Systems; Stimulus Funding to Support Largest Commercial PHEV Demonstration to Date

Eaton Corporation’s truck and electrical businesses will support a $45.4 million grant to develop a fully integrated, production plug-in hybrid system for Class 2 – 5 vehicles (8,501 – 19,500 lbs gross vehicle weight), and the accompanying demonstration of a fleet of 378 plug-in hybrid trucks and shuttle buses.

The funding is part of the recently announced $2.4 billion in grants by the US Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (Earlier post.) This will represent the largest deployment of commercial PHEVs to date.

Eaton will work with grant recipient South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and other affiliates, including the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI), Altec Industries, Compact Power Inc., Ford Motor Company and Southern California Edison, in the deployment of plug-in hybrid electric commercial vehicles to more than 50 utility and municipal fleets nationwide. Eaton will also provide infrastructure for the electrical charging of these vehicles.

The development and deployment of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and accompanying charging infrastructure will take place over 18 months. Vehicles will be evaluated over a two-year period.

The production and demonstration of this fleet of vehicles is a significant step in driving PHEV technology beyond the personal transportation platform to a daily work application. This project leverages Eaton’s current hybrid electric system and builds upon nearly three years of ongoing work by Eaton and EPRI to develop PHEV technology for commercial vehicles.

— Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation at EPRI

In the utility truck application, the plug-in hybrids will be based on the Ford F550 chassis and will have a total range of at least 300 miles. The system will provide fuel economy improvement of up to 70% when compared to a standard utility vehicle, with similar reductions in emissions and noise. The entire system can be recharged by plugging it into a standard 120- or 240-volt electrical outlet. In addition, the trucks will be capable of powering auxiliary equipment and tools while stopped at a worksite.

An important element in the adoption of these vehicles is the electrical infrastructure for plug-in charging. Eaton will work with EPRI to develop plug-in station technology for use by utilities and other customers across the country.

In addition to being a leader in electrical infrastructure and systems, Eaton is a global leader in the production of hybrid power systems for trucks and buses, accumulating nearly 20 million road tested miles of service around the world. Eaton is the only company to offer hybrid electric as well as two hybrid hydraulic system technologies and the charging infrastructure for commercial and residential applications.


Henry Gibson

Plug-in-Hybrid vehicles are very good technology to reduce the use of petroleum. The major issue is the cost of such vehicles. Batteries have not been an issue since before the TZERO demonstrated the lead acid vehicle with range extender for long trips.

The ZEBRA battery has long been available and tested and operated in commercial and private vehicles. General Electric tested them in hybrid locomotives and hybrid mining trucks and will be producing both the vehicles and batteries.

Commercially available Lithium Ion batteries do not have significantly more energy per gram than ZEBRA batteries and most have less. Lithium batteries are harder to cool in hot climates and to keep warm in cold climates. General Electric did not even dare test them in mine trucks in Arizona or locomotives because they required airconditioning compressors.

The price of ZEBRA batteries can be reduced to a fraction of their present price with the implementation of more mass production. Mass production needs a market. The US government should require that a certain pecentage of plug-in-Hybrid electric cars be put on the road even if TH!NK cars must be fitted with range extenders and imported. At least one TH!NK design was intended to have a Hydrogen fuel cell range extender. Modified Honda inverter generators would be very good for range extenders.

Ford once owned TH!NK and now GM should finance the putting of many TH!NK cars on the road. The government of Norway has many billions of petro dollars and it is intent on not letting TH!NK continue in business and irritate other oil suppliers in spite of its pretended commitment to low CO2.

The GM Volt is overkill. It has been purposely delayed by making it too elaborate with too big of an engine too big of a battery and not just adding a small engine generator to the EV1 with AC propulsion technology. They also failed to adopt the ZEBRA battery which is already in mass production and has been tested for millions of miles in all kinds of vehicles. When Lithium batteries become a lot cheaper and more energy dense they could easily be put in the place of a ZEBRA batterie if sufficiently superior in price and performance.

Perhaps it is a large Oil company that should be required to not only buy TH!NK but produce 100,000 cars a year minimum in the US for its participation in oil speculation. ..HG..

The comments to this entry are closed.