Proven electric hybrid drivetrains for half-ton bakkies

2017-01-12 06:02
PHOTO: XLH XL Hybrids, a company formed in 2009 by MIT alumni, are ready to supply half-ton bakkies with a retrofit electric system that has proven fuel savings of up to 50%.

PHOTO: XLH XL Hybrids, a company formed in 2009 by MIT alumni, are ready to supply half-ton bakkies with a retrofit electric system that has proven fuel savings of up to 50%.

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WHILE South Africa ranks with Malaysia and South America as a top-selling bakkie market our buyers do not have much of a say in what drivetrains future bakkies should offer.

That authority goes to the American buyers, who ensure that the Ford F250 is the overall top-selling vehicle in the U.S.

And with demand for the as-yet-unproven fuel cell Nikola One truck having netted the developer $3 billion (R42,2 billion) in deposits, any manufacturer with an eye on the American buyer will be offering pick-ups that just sip fuel.

Enter XL Hybrids Incorporated, a company founded in 2009 by MIT alumni in Boston, Massachusetts, whose hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid-electric powertrains can be fitted to any of the major OEM platforms and have been proven to deliver on average 20% to 50% improvement in consumption and CO2 emissions, as well as 99,9% fleet uptime. XL Hybrids was recognised as one of the 2014 World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2014 by Fast Company, and has buy-in from national fleets in the U.S.

The company now offers a plug-in hybrid system for half-ton bakkies, which it said in a statement, is an industry-first, fleet-ready solution, with deliveries to fleet customers scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2017.

Clay Siegert, XL Hybrids’ co-founder and chief operating officer, said the technology will be the first plug-in solution that is available for tried and true commercial pick-up trucks for fleets today. He said XL Hybrids surveyed fleet managers to understand their most critical requirements and developed the new technology based on customer demand for hybrid electric plug-in technology on commercial work trucks from the leading OEMs.

The new XLP solution will build on the platform product technology used on the company’s award-winning XL3 hybrid-electric powertrain, which has achieved more than 35 million road miles with over 99,9% vehicle uptime on Class 2-6 vehicles for major fleets since 2013.

The XLP lithium battery pack will be over 10 kWh, and will accommodate Levels 1 and 2 charging using an industry-standard plug.

Dr Edward Lovelace, XL Hybrids’ chief technology officer, said in a statement the plug-in hybrid electric solution has already been proven over millions of fleet road miles.

“XLP will provide fleet customers with unprecedented reliability, vehicle uptime and drivability for a plug-in hybrid pick-up truck solution,” said Lovelace.

“The launch of our XLP plug-in hybrid solution reaffirms XL Hybrids is the industry leader in fleet electrification solutions, and we are proud to have major customers already committed to support our product launch next year.”

Like Tesla cars, the XLP hybrids will link to a cloud-based big data analytics system, which measures MPG performance and reports carbon dioxide emissions reductions.

The proprietary XL Link vehicle connectivity is a continuous data link from every vehicle, collecting millions of operational data points, allowing analysis and reports on key performance indicators.

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