Aug 08

ALTe readies light and medium duty extended-range truck conversion

 

An Auburn Hills, Mich. company is progressing toward a promising extended-range vehicle conversion for fleet applications, with aspirations also to partner with major manufacturers as an original equipment series hybrid solutions provider.

Some of you commented on ALTe’s F-150 conversion last year in the GM-Volt forum. More recently the company has announced it will conduct trials of a 2007 F-150-based prototype for several months beginning Spring 2012 with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).


ALTe’s converted F-150 is to undergo trials with PG&E and other companies to helping it sharpen its act. The retrofit is being marketed to fleets, but interested retail customers will be welcome too.

To gain a clearer view, we contacted ALTe’s Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Dennis Baranik, and from what he says, the company has high hopes indeed.

With stricter Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules coming down the pike, ALTe already has a head start on a product that could dovetail with mandates, and the company is making strong industry alliances that are attracted to its business model and potential.

Among them, in April this year, ALTe announced it had reached a partnership with Manheim, a large automotive remarketing company, to do turnkey installations for fleet customers.

“With this partnership, ALTe’s fleet customers will be able to take their vehicle to a Manheim operating location and Manheim will retrofit their light trucks and vans with an ALTe series plug-in electric hybrid powertrain,” a company info sheet said. “The fleet customer will then reinsert the vehicle back into its fleet and realize fuel economy improvements of up to 200 percent.”

REEP Conversion

ALTe calls its iteration of its a series electric hybrid powertrain a Range Extended Electric Powertrain (REEP), and projects fuel efficiency improvements of at least 80 percent.

As it stands, ALTe’s conversion involves removal of the standard V8 engine from an F-Series pickup or Econoline van, and fitting it with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine serving as a generator that does not mechanically drive the wheels, Remy RVH250 electric traction motor, motor controller, software, and lithium-ion battery packs.


Another view of the ALTe rolling chassis.

The rear-wheel-drive F-150 to be tested by PG&E uses an engine from a late-model Focus, but ALTe has flexibility for what generator it will ultimately use.

“At this point, ALTe has used the Ford 2.0-liter engine in its prototype vehicles but the company has not yet signed a long-term supply agreement with an engine supplier (expected within the next 2-3 months),” Baranik said. “ALTe is in discussions with several OEMs who have expressed interest in providing engines.”

He would not say what company supplies the motor controllers, but the long-term supply contract with Remy for its bleeding-edge, High Voltage Hairpin motors is set, he said, as is a contract for the lithium-ion batteries, which we are apparently just a little early reporting on.

“ALTe has recently signed a long-term supply agreement with one of the leading lithium-ion battery companies in North America,” Baranik said. “A press release will be issued within the next two weeks.”

The F-150, Baranik said, has a range “projected at about 25 miles in the prototype vehicle.” Horsepower from the four-cylinder plus motor is said to be on par with the supplanted V8, torque is greater, and cargo and towing capacity are unaffected.

After the twin battery packs adding up to 20 kWh deplete, Baranik said PG&E can expect “between 25-30 mpg in charge-sustained mode (i.e., once the genset turns on and after the “all electric” range/miles).”


Photo of actual rolling chassis. Green sections are battery packs. Note multi-speed transmission is retained. As an option ALTe will rebuild the transmission while the REEP conversion is being performed.

Baranik said while the present prototype is a 4X2, the system will work for four-wheel-drive applications also.

“The packaging is different for a 4×4 vehicle but the ALTe powertrain will be able to be installed/retrofit in 4×4 vehicles,” Baranik said.

What does ALTe hope to accomplish in the PG&E trial?

ALTe intends “for a very educated and experienced fleet (PG&E) to evaluate and provide to ALTe’s engineers performance feedback that can enhance the ALTe powertrain as we prepare for launch next year,” Baranik said. “This will also provide an opportunity for PG&E to validate ALTe’s product.”

Next, we asked Baranik whether ALTe would use larger batteries than 20 kWh to extend all-electric range?

“ALTe will enter the market initially with a common configuration for light trucks/vans up to 14,000 GVW,” Baranik said. “Eventually, ALTe will offer a larger powertrain for trucks/vans up to 26,000 GVW and also have the ability to offer customers various options that could increase electric miles and/or range and/or other performance specifications.”

Given its new efficiency, the converted F-150’s 27-gallon tank is removed and replaced with a relatively small 8-gallon tank.

“With a projected range of about 300 miles, ALTe does not believe it necessary to offer a larger fuel tank,” Baranik said.

Costs for an individual vehicle conversion are projected at around $30,000. While this sounds high, ALTe has a business case to justify this to fleet customers who are known to be sticklers looking at return on investment. Depending on the usage model, payback can be as soon as 12 months, “depending primarily on the number of miles driven and the projected cost of gasoline,” another company representative said.

“The price of the ALTe powertrain is projected to decline significantly over the next several years as demand for lithium ion batteries increases and corresponding battery costs decline,” the representative said. “Furthermore, many corporate, regional and local fleet owners and operators are being forced to continue to use their current fleet as their replacement fund budgets have been drastically reduced. ALTe offers them, for the first time ever, a feasible option to extend the life of their fleet vehicles for several years where they also benefit from doubled fuel economy at an affordable incremental cost.”


Cost benefit chart provided by ALTe.

We asked Baranik: What subsidies, if any, could help underwrite lease or purchase of retrofitted REEP vehicles?

“Federal tax credits are the most well known source of financial assistance. In addition, there are numerous state and local grants, credits and subsidies that vary by locale,” he said.

We asked also: Does the $7,500 federal grant for consumers apply to a retrofitted REEP vehicle?

“At this point, a federal tax credit equal to 10 percent of the cost of a retrofit with an alternative-fuel powertrain is available with a maximum amount of a $4,000 tax credit (e.g., if the retrofit cost $30,000 then the tax credit would be equal to $3,000),” Baranik said.

Measures of success

All this sounds great, but will this company fly? Baranik said plans indicate a definite yes.

The company’s CEO and co-founder, John Thomas was recently named as one of Automotive News’ Electrifying 100, and it has garnered more impressive commitment from industry bigwigs.

“ALTe has formed a Customer Advisory Board that includes fleet directors from over a dozen of the leading brand names in North America, including PG&E, Cox Communication, Frito Lay, Duke Energy, Waste Management, Service Master, DirecTV, and Stantec among others,” Baranik said. “All of these fleet managers have driven an ALTe powered vehicle and have verified the feasibility of our business model.”


It says “REEV” in this graphic, but the company is going with the term “REEP.”

Digging slightly deeper, we asked whether the company has any paying customers yet?

“ALTe is projected to start installing its electric powertrain systems in summer 2012 with the company beginning to accept purchase orders at the end of the 2011,” Baranik said.

We also asked what commitments the company has from any accounts pending.

“ALTe will begin accepting purchase orders at the end of 2011 to support its summer 2012 product launch. In the meantime, ALTe has contracted on pilot projects with PG&E and other companies (names not yet released publicly) where one of their vehicles will be retrofit with an ALTe powertrain. The companies will be able to evaluate the performance and provide feedback to ALTe and presumably lead to purchase orders for 2012.

OK, all this still sounds solid, but we are familiar with startups that love to sell the sizzle, so we asked about profitability.

When does your business plan call for you to be in the black, or are you self-funded?

“At this point, ALTe is not generating revenue but intends to be self funded and profitable from Job #1 forward,” Baranik said.

If the company can pull off profitability from its first contract, that would be exceptional indeed, but this is what we were told.

Next we asked, can you share who your investors are, if there are any?

“Two members of our Board of Directors, Tom Lasorda (former CEO of Chrysler) and Simon Ahn (attorney who also is managing director of SMS Investment Group) are investors in ALTe along with the three co-founders and several other sources,” Baranik said.

We asked whether the REEP conversions will be available for all makes and models?

“ALTe will initially be targeting to retrofit Ford branded pickup trucks (F-Series) and full-size vans (Econoline), but eventually the company plans to retrofit other brands as well,” Baranik said. “Longer term, ALTe is involved in discussions with various OEMs regarding the inclusion of an ALTe PHEV powertrain in new vehicle platforms.”

More to the point, we asked, what are the company’s long-term goals?

“[To] include ALTe powertrains in new vehicle platforms, transition our business model internationally, and expand our product line to include other EV components,” Baranik said.


Initial fleet accounts will be light trucks, limo vans, etc., leading up to plans for 26,000 GVWR vehicles. Automakers could also work with ALTe to apply its technology to passenger vehicles built on an assembly line. Economies of scale and declining battery prices are anticipated to make that feasible

If this pans out, it could prove lucrative if present deals Tesla has with Toyota are any indicator. Tesla has recently disclosed a $100 million contract in working with Toyota on plug-in solutions, and talk also of a deal as high as $1 billion have been reportedly in discussion between Tesla and Toyota.

As it is, the need to make gas guzzlers less thirsty is even more pressing, and it makes a lot of sense too. The Chevrolet Volt, for example, gets an EPA rated 37 mpg when running on gasoline power, and its Cruze sibling achieves around the same or even higher. The biggest sore thumbs on the automotive fuel economy landscape are gas guzzlers including light duty trucks, which Americans are still infatuated with, are still needed by fleets, and still selling in high numbers dragging down fleet fuel economy averages.

So, lastly, we asked: how do the new CAFE rules affect your future plans?

“As indicated in the recently released CAFE proposal, the federal government has established a 54.5 mpg fuel economy target by the 2025 model year. Importantly for ALTe, the proposal would exempt full size pickup trucks from any fuel economy increases from the 2017-2019 model years,” Baranik said. “This confirms what ALTe has learned through various industry sources – that the OEMs do not have any meaningful powertrain improvements planned for the light truck industry for the next several years.”

ALTe says it has meaningful powertrain improvements being finalized, and it will begin taking orders in 2011 putting it in position to help automakers with another solution for gas guzzlers.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 8th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 46


  1. 1
    Driverguy01

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (6:50 am)

    Well, that just proves GM was on the rignt track with the extended range model and the naysayers can go back to their cave. I feel that in the few years to come EREV will be the norm just like LCD or plasma tvs are the norm today, try to find a tube TV today but just 4 or 5 years ago, LCD were for computers only, now 50 inch tvs are 1000$. Like i said in earlier post, the Volt can be considered as the car 2.0 and is definitely a forerunner in this game. this is the eve of a new era, let’s enjoy it as our kids will look at our older gas burning cars and see them as ‘grandpa’s car’ while they will enjoy new cars with instant torque and futur models that will make our old early 70′s fast and powerful muscle cars look like turtles. The future now looks definetely brighter in my head and i can’t wait to live it. 5 months til i get my Volt…wanna talk about anxiety!
    indeed, these are great times!


  2. 2
    Roy_H

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (6:54 am)

    There have been several companies trying to do this for many years. It has been very difficult for them to make a good business case. Most people look at the $30k+ conversion cost and decide it is not worth it, but I think ALTe has got it right. ALTe has also wisely chosen an advanced electric motor, this too has been a problem for conversion companies in the past as suitable electric motors were mostly high priced “experimental” designs and the electric motor companies were only interested in finding a large OEM customer that would justify going into high volume production. The industry is maturing, and maybe now it will finally work.


  3. 3
    nasaman

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (7:35 am)

    Driverguy01: Well, that just proves GM was on the rignt track with the extended range model and the naysayers can go back to their cave… 5 months til i get my Volt…wanna talk about anxiety!

    My thoughts exactly! It’s especially encouraging that ALTe will be partnering with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and that they’ve identified substantial net cost savings from these conversions for commercial users. Pointing out these overall cost savings for commercial users to potential Volt purchasers could prove to be an easy way to answer overall operating cost questions/concerns!


  4. 4
    Jim I

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (7:37 am)

    The hardware, although complicated, is pretty straightforward. It is the software to make it all work which will take the most time to complete. Does this company have the resources and talent to put it all together, like GM did with the Volt?

    I think that is the real question.

    But I do like the idea of a range extended truck!

    I hope that GM is also working along these lines, even if it is for an S-10 sized version…..

    JMHO


  5. 5
    joe

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (8:43 am)

    I love seeing all the new research GM and Ford are doing. It makes me feel like the days when they were dominating the car market. Now, I Really believe they can become dominant again, because the cards are not stacked against them like they were for decades.

    For those who don’t understand why GM, Ford and Chrysler were not competing on a level playing field, read below what I think happened.

    For decades the playing field was much in favor of the Japanese. The Japanese build factories decades ago in the USA and had huge advantages. They did not have to pay a single retiree…for they had none (over 1million just for GM), CAFE fell right in their hands because they built only small cars where as the domestic made trucks and had to average the fleet with those gas guzzling trucks….. it made it impossible to compete. Basically what I’m saying is our Government almost killed the domestic car builders..

    Today with the new CAFE just proposed recently, trucks will be averaged separately, not like they were in the past. The domestic are fine with the new CAFE, but the competition is not, and is lobbying against it. They want to keep their unfair advantage.

    What really bothers me, there are many on the Internet writing anti-GM remarks and don’t have a clue what went on in past decades and only know that GM stole their money. If the government had not helped, even as bad as the economy is now, we probably be worst in shape then the period of the Great Depression had our government not helped.

    Buy American! GM and Ford now make world class vehicles.

    GO GM AND FORD, GO!


  6. 6
    Nelson

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (8:58 am)

    Ford F-150, 300mile range, $22,800 + conversion $27,000 = $49,800 ??
    Or
    Phoenix Motorcars EV light truck???
    http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/

    Guess it depends on the need.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  7. 7
    john1701a

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (9:06 am)

    Driverguy01: Well, that just proves GM was on the rignt track with the extended range model and the naysayers can go back to their cave.

    Looks like reminder is needed for the details actually in dispute. The claims were that GM could deliver a 40-mile range, 50-mpg depleted vehicle for under $30,000 by the end of 2010.


  8. 8
    Mark Z

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (10:28 am)

    Just think of the cost savings if Ford installed the conversion parts on the assembly line.


  9. 9
    Tim Hart

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (10:50 am)

    Thia is good news for EV enthusiasts. Remember, it was Tesla’s EV that inspired the Volt. These conversions could inspire GM and others to make their own range extended trucks, suv’s, etc. Once people discover the beauty of electricity replacing gas, all types of cars and trucks will be goung the way of the Volt.


  10. 10
    DonC

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (10:55 am)

    I’m skeptical. The two mode hybrid system will get you a 60% – 80% increase in fuel economy for a fraction of the cost of this conversion. If there was a big demand the two mode hybrid vehicles would be flying off the lots rather than languishing on them. With the new CAFE requirements not doubt we’ll see some interesting new technology in trucks but I’d be surprised if we see EREV technology in anything like a pure form.

    Technically, Lithium batteries are very good at delivering a steady stream of power but not so great at delivering bursts of power. Consequently, in heavy power applications, they’re suited for parallel rather than serial power trains.

    What we need is … EESTOR! Haven’t heard about them in a while.


  11. 11
    Loboc

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (11:23 am)

    CNG conversions are more cost-effective. Also, buying factory NG vehicles as replacements are needed instead of doing conversions.

    REEP is a nice exercise for WAY into the future, but, conventional ICE will be here for a long time.

    DonC, As far as GM’s hybrid trucks not ‘flying off the shelves’; you can’t get the equipment you want. They are all configured as high-end to buffer the real cost of hybrid.


  12. 12
    pavers123

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    Still waiting to hear about an extended range mini-van. It is THE HOLY GRAIL for patriotic families everywhere.

    Love my Volt in the meantime though.


  13. 13
    DonC

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (11:49 am)

    Loboc: As far as GM’s hybrid trucks not ‘flying off the shelves’; you can’t get the equipment you want. They are all configured as high-end to buffer the real cost of hybrid.

    Yeah, that’s the problem with having such a high cost solution. It’s certainly not $30K but it might be getting up towards $10K.


  14. 14
    DonC

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (11:53 am)

    john1701a: The claims were that GM could deliver a 40-mile range, 50-mpg depleted vehicle for under $30,000 by the end of 2010.

    Hey John, since you’re always determined to account for all the possible details, I have a question for you. You always express outrage when we talk about MPG and “don’t take into account the electricity” we’ve used. So here’s my question: Since we know that five large container ships create more pollution than all the world’s cars combined, when you calculate how much pollution your Pirus creates do you count the pollution created getting it here? Just curious.


  15. 15
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (11:56 am)

    Jim I: I hope that GM is also working along these lines, even if it is for an S-10 sized version…..

    #4

    Me too. +1

    Where is CaptJack now that we need him?


  16. 16
    N Riley

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (11:59 am)

    A lot of information, Jeff. Years and years before this technology is cost effective for the average consumer. But, you do not get there by not getting started in the first place. This is a very good start on a long journey. I wish them much luck.


  17. 17
    Mitch

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    john1701a,

    Looks like a reminder is needed.

    Driver guy said ” it looks like GM was on the right track” nothing about range, or price. The context I believe is that EREV is the right platform for North America…


  18. 18
    Jeff Cobb

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (12:28 pm)

    N Riley,

    Yes, I know I blew the word count. :) Call this a primer. Assuming we get more updates on this company going forward, I will link back to this article as needed.

    The company has already told me they like the fact that this audience of people who can appreciate this technology is seeing this info.


  19. 19
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    It’s going to take awhile for anything like this to reach the consumer; but it is gratifying to see progress in this area. There is a great pent up demand for a consumer EREV truck.


  20. 20
    john1701a

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (1:05 pm)

    Mitch: The context I believe is that EREV is the right platform for North America…

    Notice the REEP and EVER naming recently?

    Avoiding vague references is a benefit to everyone.

    Since it has been argued that EREV is not a brand-specific identifier for GM. It is then ambiguous reference to any plug-in hybrid offering EV propulsion, not any particular implementation or configuration. In other words, the very same “transmission” can be delivered with different opertational behaviors simply by increasing motor & battery power… not altering the design (connections or interacations).


  21. 21
    Mitch

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (1:21 pm)

    john1701a,

    EREV, REEP, REEV, VERE, VEER, EVER, EERV, EEVR,PEER, dont care if you want to call it P-I-Prius..it is the concept of all electric drive with a small ICE to power a generator.

    My main point (not to be snarky) is that your comment was almost exactly but not quite completely irrelevent to what you were replying to…

    And I was using the EREV as it is most familiar to people here….


  22. 22
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (1:29 pm)

    Mitch: My main point (not to be snarky) is that your comment was almost exactly but not quite completely irrelevent to what you were replying to…

    #21

    What else is new, LOL? +1


  23. 23
    Loboc

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (1:30 pm)

    “depending primarily on the number of miles driven and the projected cost of gasoline,”

    Unfortunately for alternatives, gas is trending downward quickly. Although, the Texas average of 2.611/gal last year isn’t met yet, at a station in Sugar Land TX it’s 3.199 today. The Texas average right now is still 3.547, so, we still got about a buck to go. I think we’ll see an adjustment downward until the economy perks up. Then, watch out! The problem is that ‘economy perks up’ may take a while.

    We need a tax on imported oil that is structured to keep oil around $90/barrel or whatever is a good rate. This pricing yo-yo makes not only fleet management stressful, but our everyday lives as well.

    What I don’t get is where is the competition? Oil pricing is apparently set by futures trading, not market competition. All the oil tankers are full and yet the price hasn’t gone to a reasonable supply/demand level.

    /OT
    The Kroger program that gives you up to a dollar a gallon is pretty nice! I regularly get 40c off per gallon based on my grocery purchases. But, like I told the auto-parts guy the other day, I don’t care all that much about the price of gasoline or I wouldn’t drive a HEMI! He said I was ‘unique’. Lol.


  24. 24
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    N Riley: A lot of information, Jeff. Years and years before this technology is cost effective for the average consumer. But, you do not get there by not getting started in the first place. This is a very good start on a long journey. I wish them much luck.

    #16

    I was about to make my usual comment about the life expectancy of automotive startups, but I have to agree with your much more positive take.

    Good luck to them indeed. +1


  25. 25
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (1:39 pm)

    Loboc: Unfortunately for alternatives, gas is trending downward quickly.

    #23

    All true, but I sure hope that the U.S. industry has learned something from what happened to light truck/SUV sales the first time gas topped $4.00. They were left looking at lots full of same with no small cars to sell. Maybe we’re conditioned now and it will have to get to $5.00 this time to provide a comparable shock, but never doubt that it is coming. If they get caught flat footed again it will be the end IMHO.

    “In time of peace prepare for war.”

    Anyway, I’m happily driving my Volt and helping to keep the price down, LOL.


  26. 26
    Mitch

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    Noel Park: #21What else is new, LOL? +1

    I do find that John does have some good points / opinion on occasion, but the general trend towards nit picking on minor crap that is about 2 years past irrelevence annoying…I wish I could find a reference from Toyota exec that once said that th Prius was almost perfected, and they are not even considering a plug in as it is a waste of time. Unlike John, I am not here to bash anyones tech, but he does seem to put the blinders on at times….

    Some people like to not admit mistakes. Did GM promise as listed in his post..NO..but did they deliver a superior product…yes.

    Was the prius the bench mark…yes, but hte last year, it will be overshadowed by the Leaf, Volt, and others. There still be more Priuses onthe road, but apples to apples. Both Nissan and GM sold more inthe ir first year than Toyota did in its first, year, same for yr2 (already more Volts and leafs indivifdually than Toyota sold all 3 first years…so if we track this..the Leaf and Volt are well positioned to far surpass Prius’ unless they catch up…I am also willing to admit that Tesla goaded GM,and Toyota paved the way, but tesla is a different class (if it survives) and the Prius is way behind the curve now….


  27. 27
    Loboc

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (2:15 pm)

    Mitch: and they are not even considering a plug in as it is a waste of time

    The also said that LiOn batteries were too dangerous, yet, PiP has them :)


  28. 28
    CorvetteGuy

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (2:27 pm)

    An EREV System in a Ford Truck…?
    Hmmm…
    Still not enough to make me like Fords.


  29. 29
    Jim I

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (3:01 pm)

    Noel Park: #4

    Me too.+1

    Where is CaptJack now that we need him?

    ==============================

    And how about Tag? I have not seen a post from him in a long time……………..


  30. 30
    john1701a

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (3:24 pm)

    Mitch: EREV, REEP, REEV, VERE, VEER, EVER, EERV, EEVR, PEER, dont care if you want to call it P-I-Prius..it is the concept of all electric drive with a small ICE to power a generator… and the Prius is way behind the curve now….

    More ambiguity, avoiding detail still… What does “way behind” actually mean?

    In other words, they’re all plug-in hybrids. Why not just focus on specs/results instead?


  31. 31
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (3:32 pm)

    Jim I: And how about Tag? I have not seen a post from him in a long time……………..

    #29

    Funny, I found a little note at the bottom of my pile this AM with a few screen names on it. statik, tagamet, jean-charles, NZDavid, old man and ThomDbhomb. Life marches on, I guess, but I really miss some of these guys. I mean statik and NZDavid pop up from time to time, and it’s a pleasure to see them when they do, but not like before

    Anyway, keep the faith. I’m sure that there are plenty of interesting times to come.


  32. 32
    Robert

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    I have a Camry Hybrid and a Honda Ridgeline. My drive to work is 24 miles round trip. If I could get this truck and replace both vehicles with this one, I’d be a happy man once again!

    Ok, I’m already happy. This would be some icing on the cake.

    I’d miss the under the bed trunk on my Ridgeline though.


  33. 33
    EVO

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (4:52 pm)

    I actually teared up on this one:

    http://roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=45575

    Respect the past, embrace the future as it becomes the present.


  34. 34
    EVO

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (5:06 pm)

    Loboc: Unfortunately for alternatives, gas is trending downward quickly.

    Unfortunately for past failed status quo, gas is showing continued wild volatility while trending upwards long term inexorably. It now takes repeated fears of world wide depression to spike it downwards.

    There, fixed it for you.


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    Aug 8th, 2011 (5:18 pm)

    Wait, what’s Chip Yates’ record setting, full gasser stomping race bike drivetrain doing in a plug in hybrid truck?

    The motorcycle and truck worlds aren’t as far apart as some folks here think.


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    Aug 8th, 2011 (5:28 pm)

    DonC: Lithium batteries are very good at delivering a steady stream of power but not so great at delivering bursts of power.

    Tell that to all the motorcycle review skeptics who got dumped on their butts from massive torque and instant response before the algorithms dumbed the systems down to partially emulate deficient full gassers. Electric motors are great at delivering bursts of power and electrons can work pretty close to the speed of light, so perhaps the entire system matters? Still, I wouldn’t say no to any lower cost improved performance you apparently intend to showcase to us.


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    kdawg

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (6:05 pm)

    “Costs for an individual vehicle conversion are projected at around $30,000″
    ————-

    Who gets to keep the V-8 engine / old parts?


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    Aug 8th, 2011 (6:17 pm)

    Loboc: I don’t care all that much about the price of gasoline or I wouldn’t drive a HEMI! He said I was ‘unique’. Lol.

    I don’t care much personally, as i drive less than 150 miles/week. I actually would prefer a price increase.


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    Aug 8th, 2011 (6:23 pm)

    john1701a: Looks like reminder is needed for the details actually in dispute. The claims were that GM could deliver a 40-mile range, 50-mpg depleted vehicle for under $30,000 by the end of 2010.

    Those were engineering targets, not promises.


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    Aug 8th, 2011 (6:39 pm)

    OT: how many Volt owners are going to them to the Woodward Dream Cruise on Aug 18th? I may go just to see the wild Volts, if there are enough of them.

    Edit: its in Detroit for those not fam.


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    randy

     

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (10:51 pm)

    $30,000 for each conversion is not going to set the Auto world on fire. Other than fleets and business most drivers would not benefit financially.


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    john1701a

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    Aug 8th, 2011 (11:31 pm)

    kdawg: Those were engineering targets, not promises.

    Let’s not forget the reason they were set.


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    Felix Kramer

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    Aug 9th, 2011 (12:53 am)

    A great article and I’m glad to see the enthusiasm in comments. If you want to understand the larger context for ALTe’s efforts, take a look at the CalCars page http://www.calcars.org/ice-conversions.html where we make the case for a strategy of high-volume, fully warrantied conversion of tens of millions of gas-guzzlers to plug in, either as EV or PHEV/EREV, depending on the vehicle’s drive cycle, design, and economics.

    The reason we need to do this is because we need giant fossil fuel reduction globally in the next 10-15 years, for energy security and climate change. We have 250 million vehicles in the US, 900 million globally. Unfortunately, even if we get a million new plug-in cars by 2015, and then even if the rate of adoption among new car buyers is 10 times faster than for hybrids, the percentage of the US/world’s cars that plug in will be less than 20% during that time frame. We can’t afford to wait, so just as we are “fixing” our buildings, we need to fix already-built cars.

    It’s a giant challenge to persuade people that:
    1. this is important
    2. there are technologies to do it
    3. there’s a business case for it.
    We’re working to get out this message, enlist other advocates to see the importance and feasibility of this strategy, and to help leading companies like ALTe and others get the attention, backing, and incentives they need, and ultimately, to get cooperation from the world’s automakers.


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    Mitch

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    Aug 9th, 2011 (10:46 am)

    john1701a,

    you are not interested in results most of the time it seems. real world results are that most Volt owners are getting way better mileage than any Prius. (is anyone getting worse than 60?), but then you aurgue about the cost of electricity, but ignore shipping costs and enviro damage from huge container ships. MPG is the one thing in common, and the ruler by which I will measure. The PIP will aslo use elctricity from the grid, so then will it be a factor, or not? if yes, then the PIP will use less low cost electricty, more expensive imported fuels.there are so many different factors one can point to and say “but you should include this”…MPG is one common factor. Nothing else is.

    I have done the math on my personal sched. I commute 40 miles one way. I can charge at work. My company is trying to be green and has approved a charging station for me (240V too!!) it will cost me less than a 1/2 gallon of gas for the electricity per day, to save 3. as for environmental, my electricity is from hydro (niagara falls power) so its clean, at work, we are installing Solar. I will be about 80 MPG average. I am not thinking the PIP will be able to match that.

    As for way behind, the Volt is now, the leaf is now and has been for 1 year, the PIP is next year (? cant tell as they are not as transparent as GM was with the Volt), lower range, smaller battery, less battery management (worse for cold areas). To me Toyota (and I am not bashing, there are some Toyota’s I like, ) but they are rushing out an inferior item to get into the market. Volt is a dreamliner, the PIP is a 707..


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    Aug 9th, 2011 (11:23 am)

    Mitch: …but then you aurgue about the cost of electricity

    That hasn’t been me. My only argument with respect to electricity is the exclusion of it in the reporting of efficiency. Remember all those times “gallons & kWh” have been requested?
    .

    Mitch: but they are rushing out an inferior item to get into the market.

    Lower, smaller, and less equates to “inferior”, really? That is not what they teach in business economics.

    What you claim is a rush to market is actually implementation of a design already aimed for middle-market with high-volume profitable sales.

    What are the goals for Volt? When?


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    Aug 9th, 2011 (1:55 pm)

    Mitch: I will be about 80 MPG average. I am not thinking the PIP will be able to match that.

    Again, what are the goals for Volt? The plug-in Prius also delivers 80, but capacity was intentionally limited to keep price low. We’ve seen that larger packs from aftermarket providers will yield higher efficiency, but that costs more.

    Mitch: Volt is a dreamliner, the PIP is a 707..

    Middle-Market vehicles are not dreamliners. That’s what luxury vehicles are for. Besides the cost of the extra capacity, you’re also paying for an electric motor with higher kW output. Are mainstream consumers really interested in paying for that? Based on the differences between engine size choices and recent purchases, the answer is no.