ALTe Powertrain Technologies (ALTe) has successfully installed its range-extended electric powertrain system in a second line of vehicles: the Ford Econoline E350 platform. ALTe has already successfully implemented conversions in Ford F150 trucks, which have been driven by dozens of potential fleet customers. This new line will offer more choices to fleet managers who seek to convert their fleets to plug-in electric hybrid.
ALTe began engineering development on the Ford E350 platform in late 2011 reflecting the popularity of this vehicle in the fleet industry. There are currently more than 125,000 E350 vans of the 2004-2010 model years registered to corporate, government and utility fleet owners in the US. Because fleets typically drive two to five times the average miles of retail and individual consumers, the fuel consumption, emissions reductions and financial returns for this target market are significant, ALTe notes.
ALTe road tests showed that this E350 cutaway chassis prototype can drive approximately 25 miles in an all-electric mode and then deliver nearly 15 mpg in a charge-sustained mode. These performance levels should continue to improve as ALTe incorporates production level components and refines various engineering algorithms. For a typical fleet vehicle that drives 45 miles per day, the combined mode fuel economy would be over 30mpg, while a similar Ford E350 cutaway chassis with a V8 engine is only able to achieve less than 9 mpg, based on data provided by major fleets.
ALTe will deliver the E350 prototype to its first potential fleet customer for evaluation this month, with plans to build more prototypes for customer evaluations throughout the year. ALTe continues to target a Spring 2013 product launch date for the US market.
ALTe intends for its system to be retrofit into existing fleet vehicles as well as used in glider applications of new vehicles. Designed to replace a base V-8 internal combustion engine powertrain, the system’s patented technology improves fuel economy from 80% to 200%, according to the company.