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Motiv for ‘Mix-and-Match’ EVs

March 9, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Motiv Power promoted its flexible, open-architecture approach to electric trucks – branded as ePCS, for electric powertrain control system – and said it’s achieving single-charge range of about 100 miles on a 20-passenger, 14,000-lb, Ford E450-chassis prototype vehicle featured in the Green Truck ride-and-drive last week.

Motiv Power Systems founder and CEO Jim Castelaz at the wheel of the firm's Dow Kokam- and Evo Electric-powered pure battery, Ford-chassis demonstrator at the Work Truck Show 2012's Green Truck ride-and-drive in Indianapolis

Motiv’s goal is to facilitate not only EV development but deployment – devising designs that will allow fleet operators to easily replace components, especially batteries, as new ones become available (F&F, September 20, 2010).

“A ‘mix and match’ design is the future of the electric truck,” Motiv founder and CEO Jim Castelaz said in a release just prior to the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

“What’s attracting a lot of fleets is the flexibility we give them in battery choice,” he told F&F there.

Motiv’s ePCS also improves vehicle performance and economics, Castelaz says. Batteries can be separated into separate modules for better weight distribution, for example, and ePCS can detect a battery module that’s running hot, and reduce demand on it to extend battery life.

With ePCS, “total cost of ownership is approximately 50% less than a diesel powertrain over an eight-year period,” the firm says.

‘Building a Library’

The vehicle in Indianapolis, which is also being used as an employee shuttle by San Francisco-based Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, will soon have one of its four Dow Kokam lithium ion modules replaced by cells from Taiwan’s Lico, says Motiv business development VP Shyam Nagrani. The vehicle has axial flux permanent magnet motors from Britain’s Evo Electric.

“We’re building a library of compatible components,” says Castelaz – and the datasets that enable them to work in harmony. Motiv expects to develop conversion kits optimized for specific drive-cycle needs and to ship those kits, comprising batteries and motors and the essential controls, to firms capable of converting conventional medium duty trucks to battery electric operation.

“Our ePCS design accommodates a wide variety of off-the-shelf batteries and components, allowing EV designers and truck chassis builders the flexibility to combine various components to meet a range of specifications without designing a new powertrain from scratch,” Castelaz said.

Foster City, Calif.-based Motiv has $1.15 million from the California Energy Commission to supply four vehicles to Michigan’s Detroit Chassis for an assembly line pilot run of four electric truck chassis.

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