Newsletter – July 2015



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Welcome to the EDI newsletter, where we’re committed to delivering valuable information and insight on the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicle drivetrain industry. We'll also share some of our company news and technology breakthroughs. If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you would like to receive it monthly please feel free to subscribe. Thanks from the team at EDI.

In this Issue:

This month we cover California legislators visit to EDI's global headquarters and innovation center. We also feature stories on our new PHEV armored truck project with North American Repower, our California Energy Commission CNG PHEV logistics truck, and an industry point of view on exportable power.


California Legislators visit EDI

This month EDI hosted several California legislators at our global headquarters in Milpitas, California for a special open house tour.


California Legislators Tour EDI’s Global Headquarters

Attendees included Senator Wieckowski, Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, staff members from Supervisor Dave Cortese and Assemblymember Kansen Chu’s office, as well as Damian Breen from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Attendees participated in an industry presentation of industry and market trends, a tour of EDI’s global headquarters and advanced manufacturing facility, and a technology Q&A session with members of EDI’s technical team.

See a behind the scenes video of the tour. Learn more in the recent Mercury News Article.


Senator Wieckowski with EDI’s CNG PHEV Logistics truck, a California Energy Commission supported project.Z


EDI and North American Repower to produce the world’s first PHEV armored trucks

EDI’s PHEV work truck solution created in collaboration with PG&E was recently showcased as part of Governor Brown’s Zero Emissions Vehicle Summit held in Sacramento. Governor Brown’s office extended an exclusive invitation to EDI to participate in the summit, which took place at the California Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters.


Up to 99.9% Emissions Reduction with EDI’s PHEV Armored Truck

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. has teamed up with North American Repower to manufacture a first-of-its-kind fleet of Class-5 armored security vehicles that combine the benefits of renewable natural gas with the zero emissions capabilities of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology. The modernized trucks will be operated by Sectran Security and make it possible to completely eliminate engine idling by operating in all-electric mode during stop-and-go operations on urban routes and in hybrid-mode during highway operations. This feature will help Sectran comply with California’s strict diesel idling regulations, which prohibit idling the engine for more than five minutes, and will dramatically reduce annual diesel consumption by 31,000+ gallons as well as reduce emissions by 99.9 percent. The technology represents tremendous potential for commercial viability and can play an essential role in helping California meet its long-term carbon reduction and short-term zero emissions goals.

Find out more about EDI’s newest fleet of green vehicles in the official press release.



EDI's compressed natural gas PHEV logistics truck in action

Our latest compressed natural gas PHEV hit the road near our office in Dixon, Calif., showing off its all-electric and hybrid capabilities.


EDI’s CNG PHEV Logistics Truck delivers 40+ miles of Zero Emissions Range

Delivering full vehicle performance, this zero emissions logistics truck was engineered to handle the stop-and-go operations of urban routes and will help to dramatically reduce emissions and fuel consumption for fleet owners.

Check out our CNG PHEV in action on the official EDI Facebook page now!


Exportable Power in passenger PEVs the new trend in Japan... in the U.S., not so much

By Alysha Webb, Contributing Author

About four years ago, I attended an event introducing the i-MiEV at the North American headquarters of Mitsubishi Motors in Southern California. One thing about the small electric vehicle really stuck with me: the battery could be used as an external power source. I joked at the time that Mitsubishi should advertise it as the perfect tailgate party car, one that could drive you to the game and power an electric grill once you got there.

Called “the Power Box,” the feature became very attractive in Japan after the Fukushima disaster in March of 2011, a time when many Japanese citizens would have benefited from access to an external power source. More than four years after the disaster, Mitsubishi has taken the exportable power feature much further.

The Power Box “was just proof of concept,” says Nathan Berg, senior manager of long-range planning at Mitsubishi Motors NA. “Since then we have developed that technology from just pulling power from an i-MiEV to harnessing a greater amount of power.”

Electric vehicles are potentially more than just a mode of transportation. Their large batteries can also be used to send energy back to the electric grid or even as a small power plant of their own. Commercial vehicle fleets are starting to include vehicles with an exportable power in their fleets, but the feature hasn’t really caught on with passenger cars yet. That may change.

“Going forward, in the next generation or two of plug-in electric vehicles, we will start seeing more demand for vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid integration,” predicts Sam Abuelsamid, a senior research analyst at Navigant Research. There is a caveat, however. Sales of electric passenger vehicles, which have been slow, will have to grow.

There are other conditions that need to exist for exportable power to become more widespread in passenger PEVs. As a first step, manufacturers have to decide to add the exportable power feature to plug-in electric vehicles. Another issue with using a vehicle battery as an external energy source is that, according to Abuelsamid, most U.S. homes and appliances run off AC power, while an electric vehicle battery is DC. Fortunately, there are projects trying to find solutions to this issue. For example, NextEnergy, a Detroit-based non-profit started to drive advanced energy investment, has built NextHome, a tiny abode that has solar panels and operates on DC power. Automaker FCA US LLC is working with NextEnergy to see how an electric vehicle can become part of this home energy ecosystem.

It’s interesting to note that vehicle-to-grid has received more attention than vehicle-to-home. There are a handful of test projects in the U.S., and the Department of Defense invested some $20 million in 2013 to install 500 V2G plug-in electric vehicles at those projects.


Exportable power as a factory option

Japanese automakers are the furthest along on the “exportable power from electric vehicles” front. In early June, a group of Japanese automakers supporting the CHAdeMO charging standard announced they are aiming to expand the popularity of the notion of a vehicle as a power plant by giving the CHAdeMO connection the ability to export power back to the grid, external batteries or appliances.

The automakers involved are Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru and Honda.

On its own, Mitsubishi has moved beyond the simple PowerBox. The Outlander PHEV already offers a factory option of a 1500W AC100V power feeder that allows the vehicle to run electrical appliances at an evacuation site in an emergency or as a power source when owners are camping or picnicking.

“You can plug directly into those outlets and use them directly from the vehicle,” says Berg.

At the end of last year, Mitsubishi announced the SMART V2H system, allowing its Outlander PHEV to supply power to a home as an emergency power source.

The Outlander PHEV is selling well in Japan and Europe, but Mitsubishi has delayed the introduction of the model to the U.S. market several times. Mitsubishi spokesperson Laura Conrad says sales in the U.S. will begin in spring 2016.

Will U.S. buyers be able to hook their Outlander up to their homes? “We have not released any information specific to the U.S. spec model yet,” says Conrad. “It is too soon to comment on the SMART V2H system here.”

Learn more about EDI’s solution portfolio.


New Photos and Videos on Facebook!

We're constantly adding new content to EDI's corporate Facebook Page. You can check it out here (and please like it!).

We invite you to visit our page to view “the lighter side” of EDI and take the opportunity get to know the people behind the company. We’ll be posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos, industry links from around the web, and relevant and useful content related to EDI. As always, we’d love to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with any ideas for future posts or topics you’d like to view more of. We’re hoping to use Facebook as another way to connect with all of you, so please visit our page and give us a like!



Technical features of the EDI electric powertrain systems

EDI is in the business of promoting the use of external power-plant electric energy to displace fossil or liquid fuel. This objective currently fits with the goals of many countries led primarily by the USA and California in particular. To meet this objective, we at EDI have designed and constructed the most efficient and cost effective system to accomplish this fuel displacement. Here are just a few of the technical features of EDI electric powertrain systems:

Our goal when producing our vehicles is to be able to eliminate as much as 90 percent of the yearly liquid fuel currently needed by conventional vehicles. In order to do this, the vehicle must be designed for full performance on electricity alone. We call these vehicles “long range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles,” or LRPHEV. Some people, including General Motors, prefer to call these vehicles “extended range electric vehicles,” or EREV. The batteries for the EREV vehicles are smaller than the batteries of the all-electric or battery-electric vehicles because the liquid fuel engine can provide the range. Thus for the same power, the EREV will require a slightly more power dense battery.

We at EDI are currently focused on commercial medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Some of these vehicles need more than 400 kW (530 hp) of power to drive the vehicle in normal use. In order to provide this amount of electric power, high voltages are required due to physical hardware limitations, and as a result, two voltage standards seem to have evolved worldwide – 350 and 650 volts for both cars and trucks. The “48 volt” systems evolving in Europe are for smaller hybrid electric vehicles that do not displace liquid fuel with off board electric energy. These vehicles (called “hybrid electric vehicles,” or HEV) are simply more efficient fossil fuel vehicles since they use no external electric energy.

Since our EDI electric drive is modern and computer controlled, our motors are all alternating current (AC) and variable frequency. Alternatively a “DC” motor has mechanical brushes and a commutator for converting electric current to variable frequency. These DC motors have been manufactured for over a hundred years and are still relatively inexpensive, but unreliable and not durable enough for vehicles for many reasons. When used in a vehicle they still require solid-state control. So the AC motor today including the controller are relatively less expensive and much more reliable.

Professor Andy Frank, CTO
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc.


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