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

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.

The JV with Henan Benma will produce a select portfolio of commercial vehicles powered exclusively by powertrain systems engineered by ALTe. The JV will utilize an existing manufacturing license that was previously granted to Benma. Target volumes will ramp up to 10,000 vehicles per year and an initial purchase order for 1,000 units has been committed to the JV by Benma.

The JV will start with production of a 3-ton light commercial truck in addition to a medium-sized bus as quickly as ALTe can complete the application engineering and validation testing.

Benma currently produces 20 different models of commercial vehicles for the domestic Chinese market with a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year. The Board at Benma made the decision to team up with ALTe to form a new original equipment manufacturing (OEM) company that will assemble and sell under a new brand nameplate.

ALTe is delighted to have formed a strong relationship with Benma. We have always observed that an informed strategic investor would be our best ally and that is precisely what we have found with Benma. Working together with Benma in China and the USA, we expect to implement the technology improvements and cost reductions to enable broad adoption of plug-in electric hybrid powered vehicles.

—John Thomas

The ALTe system can 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%.


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