E450-Based Shuttles & Trucks, First Full-Size Chicago Garbage Truck
Motiv Power Systems, which is taking commercial electric vehicle modularity and parts interchangeability to an unprecedented level, expects to deliver approximately 20 pure battery trucks and buses this year, including full-size all-electric garbage truck to the City of Chicago – itself the first of 20.
Motiv, which is based in Foster City, south of San Francisco, designs software-upgradable controllers that allow fleet operators to install improved components as they become available over the life of a working vehicle. “The technology is always moving forward,” says Motiv marketing VP Shyam Nagrani.
Motiv calls its own technology ePCS, for electric Powertrain Control System. It’s designed to allow commercial electric vehicles to keep moving forward too.
Engineering is underway now for Motiv-drive pure battery-electric buses and trucks to be assembled by Detroit Chassis, says Motiv founder and CEO Jim Castelaz.
In addition to the refuse truck for Chicago (on an undisclosed commercial platform; F&F, November 20), Motive plans to deliver approximately ten shuttle buses and several trucks, including a flat bed for the City of Bakersfield, Calif. this year, with trucks and buses both based on the Ford E-450, and possibly, Castelaz says, a unit or two based on the larger F-550.
Motiv’s existing test platform, the modified E-450 shuttle bus that was seen in the ride-and-drive at the 2012 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, has been operated with lithium ion battery packs from Dow Kokam and Lico (Taiwan). Single-charge range is stated at 125 miles.
Motiv is also experimenting with high-temperature sodium nickel chloride batteries, often still referred to as Zebra batteries, from Fiamm SoNick. The batteries are ambient temperature-impervious and boast extremely high energy density, Castelaz says, but generally take longer to charge.
Motiv’s strategy is to build a broad ePCS database of commercial battery pack characteristics, applicable to a wide range of vehicles.
ePCS Respects Specified Warranties
“We don’t want to be in the business of taking someone’s battery module and turning it into a battery pack,” Castelaz says. “We want to interchange entire battery packs, with (manufacturer) warranties.” Motiv software, he told F&F, is structured to conform with the battery builder’s specs and requirements – a key part of the value proposition Motiv will offer fleet operators.
Motiv’s E-450 shuttle, which sports the livery of San Francisco-based Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, was built with the backing of a $1.3 million grant from the California Energy Commission. A further $1.2 million CEC grant, administered by Calstart, supports conversion of three more shuttles for Bauer and the flat bed for Bakersfield.
Most recently, Motiv has a $2.4 million CEC manufacturing grant, with a focus on robust enclosures for Motiv’s electronics. “By the end of the year we plan to have a pilot line that can produce parts for about 20 vehicles per month,” Castelaz says. Airtronics Metal Products in San Jose, Calif. is a key subcontractor.
Motiv also provides advanced telemetry allowing for detailed data mining of the vehicles’ performance, crucial in this still-early stage of commercial electric vehicle development.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels reportage