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Wrightspeed Promotes ‘The Route’ Plug-In

March 30, 2012 in CNG, Electric Drive, EVs, Hybrids by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

A Unique, CNG Version Will Be Shown in Long Beach

San Jose-based Wrightspeed is preparing a CNG-fueled Isuzu NPR HD with plug-in hybrid electric drivetrain for display at ACT Expo in Southern California in mid-May.

Wrightspeed’s plug-in hybrid electric drive offers payback in just three to five years based on fuel-savings alone — a time span that’s dropping as fuel prices rise.

Twin two-speed gearboxes (one with water-cooled Wrightspeed motor installed) on Isuzu NPR HD vehicle – ‘Suzie I’ – in San Jose March 29. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’s C30 Capstone microturbine will be diesel-fueled. Suzie II will be CNG-fueled, and is to be shown at GNA’s ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif. in mid-May. Wrightspeed is using Nanophase brand lithium iron phosphate battery modules from A123 in a proprietary high-power pack.

Twin two-speed gearboxes (one with water-cooled Wrightspeed motor installed) on Isuzu NPR HD vehicle – ‘Suzie I’ – in San Jose March 29. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’s C30 Capstone microturbine will be diesel-fueled. Suzie II will be CNG-fueled, and is to be shown at GNA’s ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif. in mid-May.

Also in assembly is a diesel fueled truck – likewise with C30 Capstone microturbine and A123′s Nanophosphate brand lithium iron phosphate modules in a high-power, 26-kilowatt-hour Wrightspeed pack – as a more conventional demonstrator for Wrightspeed’s “The Route” brand medium duty truck retrofits (F&F, September 26).

Wrightspeed will offer an all-electronic, clutchless system it says recoups far more energy than competing hybrid systems – 20 times more than today’s commercial parallel drives. Wrightspeed’s proprietary motor boasts four times the power density than the competition, the firm says.

An architecture employing a separate motor and 2-speed gearbox for each of the drive wheels of a medium duty truck yields a “much higher degree of control and stability,” senior drive systems engineer Ryan Cash told visitors from the IDTechEx Electric Vehicles Land, Sea & Air USA conference who toured Wrightspeed’s facility on March 29.

Removing the factory truck’s original engine, transmission, and differential means that the 400-kilowatt/536-horsepower Wrightspeed drive, with microturbine and batteries, adds no weight to the vehicle – “the Wrightspeed Route does NOT compromise payload,” the company says. The system nonetheless includes twin 200-kilowatt inverters, a 240-volt, single-phase, J1772-compliant grid charger, and Wrightspeed battery management system (BMS).

Fuel Efficiency Could More than Double

Depending on drive cycle, fuel efficiency could more than double. Because it’s a plug-in, “the Wrightspeed Route allows a significant part of daily mileage to be driven on inexpensive grid energy while continuing to meet the power expectations of drivers.” Tests have shown an improvement from 12 miles per gallon to 44 mpg in a stop-and-go delivery cycle. Wrightspeed is stating battery-only range at a “conservative” 40 miles.

Attendees from the IDTechEx Electric Vehicles Land, Sea & Air USA conference in San Jose toured the nearby Wrightspeed facility on March 29. Note AeroVironment charger.

Attendees from the IDTechEx Electric Vehicles Land, Sea & Air USA conference in San Jose toured the nearby Wrightspeed facility on March 29. Note AeroVironment charger.

The still-building compressed natural gas demonstrator  is dubbed Suzie II as it’s Wrightspeed’s second Isuzu upfit. Potential CNG component suppliers include Luxfer and Agility Fuel Systems. Wrightspeed plans to expand availability of The Route to Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp MT-45 and Workhorse W62 walk-in vans and other medium duty vehicles, says marketing manager Maya Giannini.

Wrightspeed also offers a drivetrain for high-performance “supercars” called The Circuit.

More Pictures


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