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The ElecTruck Moves Closer to Market

May 19, 2015 in Companies, Electric Drive, EVs, milestones, money awarded, Studies, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

TransPower Says Dyno Tests Validate Per-Mile Savings & Durability
With ROI on 100% Battery Class 8s Seen at 150,000 to 200,000 Miles,
CEC Meanwhile Awards Nearly $9 Million for Three New Test Projects

Independent dynamometer testing indicates that the return on investment for 100% battery electric, full-size, Class 8 “ElecTruck” tractors can be achieved in as little as 150,000 to 200,000 miles, reports developer TransPower. That’s because even though the trucks cost far more to buy than diesel trucks, diesel fuel costs are completely eliminated.

‘Basically it proves the business case,’ TransPower president and CEO Mike Simon says of the CE-CERT results.

‘Basically it proves the business case,’ TransPower president and CEO Mike Simon says of the CE-CERT results.


The tests by UCR, the University of California, Riverside, were among the first to take into account the cost of electricity as well as diesel fuel, and the emissions engendered by electricity production in different parts of the country, says TransPower president and CEO Mike Simon.

Simon, a hybrid vehicles veteran, notes the disappointing fuel savings experienced by heavy duty hybrid vehicle operators and the exit of Eaton (F&F, June 26, 2014), by way of example, from the business.

‘We have Leap-Frogged the Hybrid’

“We have leap-frogged the hybrid technologies,” he told F&F, “eliminating 100% of the fossil fuel and 100% of the fuel expense.”

TransPower’s target price for a full battery electric Class 8 tractor in full production is about $300,000.

TransPower’s target price for a full battery electric Class 8 tractor in full production is about $300,000.

The tests were performed by CE-CERT, UCR’s College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research & Technology.

“The results demonstrate that TransPower’s electric drive technology is not only safe, reliable, and clean, but they show a clear business case for adoption of our technology,” TransPower powertrain engineering director Frank Falcone said in a release.

$700,000 Savings Over a Truck’s Life

“For a truck with a half a million mile operating life, the energy cost savings predicted by the CE-CERT testing would amount to $630,000 over the life of the truck. We estimate that with maintenance savings, total life-cycle savings could exceed $700,000 and that could increase to $1 million or more with higher fuel prices.”

“Basically it proves the business case,” Simon says of the CE-CERT work. “We’ve progressed to a new stage.”

“Our target price for high-volume is $300,000,” he says, meaning production of about 1,000 trucks a year by an OEM using the TransPower design. The current cost is about $400,000, he says, meaning that payback is already possible.

TransPower-modified Kalmar yard tractor operated by IKEA.

TransPower-modified Kalmar yard tractor operated by IKEA.

Over-the-Road and Yard Vehicles

CE-CERT technicians tested a Class 8 on-road truck and a Class 8 off-road yard tractor using the latest version of TransPower’s ElecTruck heavy-duty all-battery drive.

A Navistar International Pro-Star Class 8 truck equipped with the TransPower system “performed all tests with a high degree of reliability,” according to an April 2015 report just released by CE-CERT. In addition, TransPower notes

  • the TransPower-powered truck “consumed only about half as much battery energy per mile” as the most recent competing electric truck tested by CE-CERT, which was evaluated in 2011;” and
  • accounting for the GHG/greenhouse gases produced by power plants to generate the electricity used by the TransPower-powered truck, the vehicle “is expected to reduce GHG in typical drayage drive cycles by 67-68%” – a net reduction of more than a ton of GHG for every 1,000 miles the truck is driven, as compared with an equivalent diesel vehicle.

CE-CERT testing of a Kalmar Ottawa yard tractor with the TransPower produced similar results: approximately three times the emissions reductions of a comparable hybrid-electric tractor tested a few years earlier.

Navistar International ProStar tractor nears full completion as a battery electric vehicle by San Diego's TransPower.

Navistar International ProStar tractor nears completion as a battery electric vehicle by San Diego’s TransPower.

Pennies Per Mile

Tests of both TransPower vehicles were performed at equivalent total vehicle weights of up to 72,000 pounds, “confirming the high performance of the ElecTruck system,” TransPower says.

Favorable economics as shown by the CE-CERT tests include

  • an equivalent energy cost of 23¢ per mile for the TransPower truck, as compared with $1.49 per mile for a typical diesel truck – an 85% reduction; and
  • an energy cost of 31¢ per mile, compared with $1.12 per mile for an equivalent diesel yard tractor and 99¢ per mile for the latest hybrid yard tractor tested by CE-CERT.

Three New CEC Awards

“These results have been confirmed by real-world operations,” TransPower adds. “Since being deployed at IKEA’s main California distribution center in September 2014, the TransPower electric yard tractor tested by CE-CERT has had an energy cost of 25¢ per mile when using power supplied by the utility grid. However, as 90% of this tractor’s energy is produced by solar arrays installed at IKEA’s facility, the actual energy cost of operating this tractor has been less than 3¢ per mile.

In related news, TransPower has been awarded nearly $9 million by the California Energy Commission for three new projects:

  • $2,884,812 to demonstrate a heavy-duty electric refuse truck. “The two year demonstration project will occur in disadvantaged communities in the Sacramento region under rigorous duty cycles commensurate with refuse and waste collection activities” under CEC Agreement ARV-14-051;
  • $3,000,000 to demonstrate a Class 8 advanced battery-electric truck in disadvantaged communities at the Port of San Diego under Agreement ARV-14-053; and
  • $3,000,000 grant to demonstrate a heavy-duty electric yard tractor within various disadvantaged communities in California’s central valley under Agreement ARV-14-054.
TransPower’s ElecTruck has become economically feasible due to today’s cheaper batteries: ten years ago, battery costs would have pushed the price of an all-electric Class 8 tractor to about a million dollars, says president and CEO Mike Simon – a tab that would have been ‘preposterous.’ TransPower produces its own battery packs using lithium cells from Voltronix USA, Liyuan Battery and CALB, the China Aviation Lithium Battery Company, with a fourth potential supplier in evaluation.

TransPower’s ElecTruck has become economically feasible due to today’s cheaper batteries: ten years ago, battery costs would have pushed the price of an all-electric Class 8 tractor to about a million dollars, says president and CEO Mike Simon – a tab that would have been ‘preposterous.’ TransPower produces its own battery packs using lithium cells from Voltronix USA, Liyuan Battery and CALB, the China Aviation Lithium Battery Company, with a fourth potential supplier in evaluation.


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Source: TransPower with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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