XL Hybrids has commenced trials of its economical upfit system for GM 2500 series vans. Two vehicles have been delivered, says XL co-founder and VP Justin Ashton, and plans are proceeding for ship-through upfits of new vehicles by a recognized Tier One supplier.
“We are talking to the biggest upfitters in the business,” Ashton says. “We’ve designed this hybrid to be another option in the ship-through process.”
XL is discussing service (and retrofits) via an existing namebrand automotive service retailer. “Our goal is to reduce risk at every level for ourselves and our customers,” Ashton says.
XL offers a parallel hybrid electric drivetrain that doesn’t try to do too much. Instead, a 40-kilowatt/53 horsepower motor coupled with a 2.3-kilowatt-hour lithium battery (to be just 1.5-kWh in production kits next year) will afford fuel savings of 20 to 25%.
The XL trials, Ashton told F&F, have commenced with “one of the biggest fleets in the world. It’s a Fortune 50 brand that everyone knows.” Placement of a vehicle with another large operator is imminent, Ashton said on March 26, and about ten more vans will enter trials over the next two months. By year-end, 30 to 40 will be running, some of them beyond XL’s Boston headquarters area.
XL has said it expects vehicles to be tested by leasing companies as well as commercial operators (F&F, October 17).
Payback on the $8,000 (installed) upfit? It’s getting easier.
“High fuel prices, while they’re painful, create the opportunity to get a payback,” Ashton says. “Now’s the time to start. If you haven’t started, it’s never too late.
“We can show clearly that this is going to create value for your company.”
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