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Variable Torque Targets Trucks in 2012

February 23, 2012 in Hybrids by rich  |  No Comments

Indiana’s Variable Torque Motors is targeting trucks with its hybrid electric driveshaft retrofits, which until today have been sold mostly for buses.

Indiana's Variable Torque Motors is targeting trucks with its driveshaft retrofit system for transforming Class 3 to 7 vehicles into hybrid electrics using Maxwell ultracapacitors to store electricity from regenerative braking.

“We’re affordable and we’re retrofittable,” says VTM’s Larry Zepp. Because the motor is installed along the OEM driveshaft, the system is “totally hands-off,” he says.The Fort Wayne-based firm and its Indianapolis dealer, Cummins Crosspoint, claim a Maxwell ultracapacitor-based system yielding payback in as little as three years to operators of vehicles 40,000-miles-per-year vehicles with high stop-and-go cycles.

“We’re a driveline accessory,” he says – albeit one that yields fuel savings of 25% to 30% on Class 3 to Class 7 vehicles.

Maxwell and Nidec

VTM uses high-torque motors built according to a VTM design by Nidec (formerly Emerson), and Maxwell ultracapacitors for electricity storage for the regenerative braking that makes the hybrid system work.

VTM claims “the only practical hybrid for new and existing fleets.”

Most sales to date have been Federal Transit Administration-supported transactions for buses, Zepp says. The VTM system earned FTA Altoona approval on Chevy 3500 and 4500 chassis cutaways with Arboc Specialty Vehicles (Middlebury, Ind.), and was subsequently given the nod for Ford chassis vehicles.


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