ACT Expo 2018

Wrightspeed Route: Turbine on Mack LR

June 7, 2016 in Companies, Electric Drive, event, EVs, Fleet Order, Hybrids, litigation, New Products, refuse, transit by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

PHEV Chassis Has a Proprietary ‘Fulcrum’ Turbine
As Litigation with Capstone Ends with ‘a Walkaway’

Mack Trucks and Wrightspeed are showing the chassis for a range-extended electric refuse truck at WasteExpo 2016 in Las Vegas this week. “The Route” branded Wrightspeed drive has a proprietary “Fulcrum” brand turbine: diesel-fueled in this instance, but capable of running on a wide variety of fuels.

Mack LR fitted with 'The Route' range-extended electric driveline with Fulcrum turbine by Wrightspeed.

Mack LR fitted with ‘The Route’ range-extended electric driveline with Fulcrum turbine by Wrightspeed.

Wrightspeed describes The Route, being shown this week on a Mack LR chassis, as “a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and dramatically reduced fuel costs for today’s refuse, delivery and mass transit markets.

“Wrightspeed counts FedEx, Ratto Group and New Zealand Bus as early Route customers,” the company says.

‘A Very Interesting Advanced Technology’

“We continually investigate technologies that advance our offerings,” Mack refuse product manager Curtis Dorwart says in the Wrightspeed release. “Wrightspeed’s The Route is a very interesting advanced technology that we’re pleased to showcase during WasteExpo.”

Wrightspeed's 'Fulcrum' brand turbine

Wrightspeed’s ‘Fulcrum’ brand turbine

Wrightspeed founder and CEO Ian Wright cites an all-electric range of about 20 miles for a refuse truck with a 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack. More important is the vehicle’s 730-kilowatt regenerative braking power, and 80-kilowatt, “fuel-agnostic” Fulcrum turbine generator combined for a driveline capable of powering vehicles weighing up to 66,000 pounds up grades as steep as 40%.

Quicker Payback with a Smaller Battery

“You get a shorter payback time if you can build a smaller battery pack and add a range-extender, so that’s what we do,” he told F&F.

“We can quite happily run CNG,” he adds – compressed natural gas. “The engine is quite happy with either fuel.”

FedEx and Ratto

With removal of the standard diesel engine, the diesel-fueled truck weighs some 700 pounds less than the original, he says.

Wright says he has orders for 25 Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp MT45 trucks fitted with The Route drive from FedEx for package delivery, and 17 orders from the Ratto Group for retrofitted Freightliner and Condor collection trucks (F&F, January 27, 2015). Both involve used vehicles.

Big NZ Bus Order: $30 Million

Wrightspeed also has a large order, worth some $30 million, for an unspecified number of vehicles from New Zealand’s NZ Bus – “It’s our first international order and it’s our biggest order,” Wright says.

“We have explored all the options on the market for future-proofing our fleet,” NZ Bus CEO Zane Fulljames says in a release. “Wrightspeed’s powertrains outperformed the competition on nearly every metric and will provide us with the fuel source flexibility and economically compelling technology to achieve that. In the near term, the technology will enable us to repower our trolley buses, to enable them to be used anywhere in New Zealand.

Lots of possibilties at NZ Bus, but retrofitted trolleys are to be first.

Lots of possibilties at NZ Bus, but retrofitted trolleys are to be first.

“Upon successful repowering of the trolleys, the next stage of the journey to commence would be the retrofitting of the Wrightspeed powertrains to other selected vehicle types in the fleet,” Fulljames said.

‘Dismissed and There Was No Payment’

Fulfillment of all three orders can go ahead, Wright says, now that litigation with Capstone, Wrightspeed’s former turbine supplier has been laid to rest. The suit “was settled with a walkaway,” he says. Wrightspeed demonstrated that the technology for Fulcrum was developed fairly and independently, and “it was dismissed and there was no payment.”

As for Mack, “Highlighting The Route powertrain at WasteExpo signifies Mack’s commitment to investigating the best performing and most efficient technologies with their complete lineup of refuse and recycling trucks,” Wright says in his announcement this afternoon.

A New HQ

“Mack has long led the industry as a powertrain pioneer in its own right, and as one that actively seeks out other powertrain innovators,” he said. “We thank them for their generosity in hosting us and their continued efforts on behalf of the industry.”

Wrightspeed expects to complete its move from Silicon Valley to the former Naval Air Station at Alameda, across from San Francisco, this week.

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Source: Wrightspeed with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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