Upfits with Off-the-Shelf Components for $10,000
Owners of 2007 to 2013 Ford E-series trucks who feel they missed out on hybrids will get another chance: for $10,000 they can convert their vehicles with a plug-and-play kit from Indiana’s Echo Automotive. Fuel savings of 25-50% will mean a payback in three to four years, Echo said at the NTEA Work Truck Show.
Echo is adding a 40-horsepower induction motor between the transmission and driveshaft, hybrid electric controls, an air-cooled inverter, and a lithium ion battery pack in place of the underfloor spare wheel. Plug-in recharging is an option. The kit adds 500 pounds to the vehicle’s weight.
The kit can be installed by any competent mechanic, and doesn’t involve removing the engine, said Echo president and chairman Jason Plotke.
A demo vehicle with the EchoDrive took part in the show’s Green Truck Ride-and-Drive here. Customers are signing up for pilot vehicles, and production of kits should begin in early 2014.
Echo Is Not Bright
Plotke said that several companies had proposed similar retrofits in the past, and he was not aware of any that succeeded. But Echo differs in that most of its components are off-the-shelf.
He said that although Echo uses the same facilities in Anderson, Ind., and some expertise left over from Bright Automotive, a hybrid auto company that went bankrupt early last year, there is no connection whatsoever between Bright and Echo Automotive.
“The facilities were available, as was some technical expertise.
“That’s it,” Plotke said.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels at the Work Truck Show