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XL Hybrids conducting pilot tests of hybrid electric conversion systems for Class 1-3 commercial vans and trucks (updated)

XL Hybrids, Inc., a company working with a hybrid electric conversion system for Class 1 through 3 commercial vans and trucks (earlier post), is conducting customer pilot tests of its system. The tests will begin with the GM 2500 Series vans, including the Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans. The hybrid powertrain can reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 20% for urban fleets, according to the company.

XL Hybrids has had earlier partnered with Ashwoods Automotive in the UK, developers of a hybrid conversion system. (Earlier post.) (Update: that partnership is no longer in effect, according to a company spokesperson.) The XL Hybrids powertrain consists of a 2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a 40 kW (53 hp) electric motor and a proprietary hybrid control system that operate seamlessly with the original manufacturer’s 4.8L V8 internal combustion engine and automatic transmission.

The hybrid system provides flexibility for fleets to operate the vehicle in any application, although the maximum fuel savings will be achieved on urban or mixed suburban and urban routes. The system can provide an additional 240 foot-pounds of torque at the driveshaft when the hybrid electric motor assists during acceleration, allowing fleets to have the same or improved performance with increased efficiency.

XL Hybrids is working with equipment upfit companies and with fleet maintenance firms to certify them to install the hybrid powertrain on new and used vehicles. The company is initially targeting sales to fleets that operate the vans at least 25,000 miles per year in urban and suburban routes.

XL Hybrids will also offer the XL Hybrids (XLH) powertrain as an option through fleet leasing partners in 2012. Participating fleets could see operating expenses reduced with minimal or no up-front capital. Additional benefits for fleets that install the XLH powertrain include:

  • Savings between $1,500 and $2,500 or more per year from improved fuel economy
  • A three- to five-year payback for fleet customers
  • Increased low-end torque
  • Installation in less than one day

Fleet customers are facing an increased number of new alternative vehicle technologies, many of which require changes to routes, cargo loads, range or fueling infrastructure. We designed our hybrid powertrain to provide an attractive payback from fuel savings while minimizing any disruption or change to company operations.

—Justin Ashton, co-founder and vice president of business development of XL Hybrids

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