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Wrightspeed Brings a CNG Plug-In to HTUF 2012

September 18, 2012 by ShowTimes in HTUF 2012 with 0 Comments

California’s Wrightspeed has brought a compressed natural gas turbine-powered plug-in hybrid electric truck to HTUF 2012.

The San Jose-based firm is in line for nearly $5.8 million from the California Energy Commission development “The Route” plug-in.

“The grant funds will accelerate manufacturing of Wrightspeed’s Route retrofit powertrain for the surprisingly large medium duty commercial fleet market, which boasts 2 million trucks in the U.S. alone,” the company says.

Company founder and CEO Ian Wright is to speak at the Understanding the Business Case session here early Wednesday afternoon at HTUF 2012.

Wrightspeed (HTUF 2012 Booth 201) is working with the Isuzu NPR platform, and saw efficiency rise from about 12 miles per gallon in testing with a metro drive cycle, to 25 to 40 miles per gallon (on a cost equivalent basis, drive cycle-dependent) with its drivetrain.

Wrightspeed says it raised some $10 million in private investments during 2010 and 2011, some of which was used as matching funds for the company’s prior CEC grant of $1.2 million. Wrightspeed opened its present San Jose facility in April 2011, and since then says it “has built and tested an impressive amount of IP, including…  250 horsepower 2-speed Geared Traction Drive (GTD) with clutchless electronic shifting (an industry first), 200 kilowatt inverter, battery pack and management system, and patent-pending vehicle dynamics control system.”

Largely because the factory truck’s engine and transmission are removed, the PHEV drivetrain adds no weight to the vehicle.

“While continuing to meet payload, power, and range expectations of fleet operators, the Route offers a 3-5 year return on investment unparalleled by competing electric drive and hybrid technologies,” the company says.

Both CNG and diesel vehicles are planned, as are further chassis options.

Wrightspeed builds its own 26-kilowatt-hour battery packs with proprietary BMS (battery management system). It currently uses Nanophosphate brand lithium ion cells from A123 (Booth 406).

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