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NEWSLETTER: FEBRUARY 2015
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.
CEO Corner, Point of View
Marketplace Confusion, Defining "Plug-in"
Having just returned from the NTEA Green Truck Conference in Indianapolis, I was very impressed with the positive trend toward emissions reductions with major OEMs and upfitters. In fact, most of the major players in the space had plans in place, or were open to expanding their emissions reductions solutions over the course of the next year. Although there is still some level of skepticism around the readiness of the market to accept higher cost, but lower emissions vehicles, the industry seems convinced that the tipping point is coming, and that anything that can help reduce emissions will soon become mainstream.
The other thing that stood out was the level of confusion within the customer base about the actual functionality of the various hybridized and idle mitigation solutions. For example, there are “plug-in” hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) like the ones EDI develops, that allow vehicles to run as fully functional electric vehicles in zero emissions mode on the roads in the city and highway. These are fully functional electric vehicles with incremental long-range hybrid and power export capabilities. Then there are other types of “plug-in” hybrid vehicles that don’t have zero emissions traction capability - and they only plug in batteries that are used to power accessories at the job site to provide some engine idle reduction. They too, market their vehicles as “plug-in hybrids” and which has created an understandable level of confusion.
The idea that there is confusion, confirms the need for innovators to build awareness with end users to clearly articulate the values and differences of various technologies, so that the right solutions can be applied to the right applications. At EDI, we’re committed to developing true zero emissions capable vehicles for both traction and job site idle-free operation, but also with hundreds of miles of add-on hybrid range. We’ll also continue to partner with peer technology companies whenever that makes the most sense.
Joerg Ferchau, CEO
Efficient Drivetrains Inc.
Learn more about EDI’s product portfolio
EDI rounds out its utility solutions with a Class 3 PHEV truck
At the recent NTEA show, EDI announced the availability of a Class 3 PHEV utility truck capable of providing 100 percent OEM performance, while reducing emissions and fuel use by up to 80 percent. The vehicle is an industry-first PHEV, built upon one of the most popular Light Duty Class 3 Detroit OEM commercial fleet trucks and possesses 30-40 miles of all-electric range, and offers zero emissions during highway and city driving. It is also capable of generating power for idle-free stationary uses.
With the addition of a Class 3 truck, EDI’s line of high-performance PHEV is now available in three configurations, giving utility and telecom providers access to a wider range of vehicles to meet their needs.
Read the full press release: http://www.efficientdrivetrains.com/news.html
EDI delivers 10 CNG PHEV buses in time for Lunar New Year
Contributed by guest author: Alysha Webb
On the heels of EDI’s recent certification of their low-cost, durable, compressed natural gas (CNG) PHEV bus, EDI delivered a production order of 10 buses to the Tongchuan 1st Public Transportation Inter-city Company of Tongchuan, China in February.
To facilitate delivery to their site, the Tongchuan 1st Public Transportation Inter-city Company sent 10 of their drivers to the EDI offices to pick up the buses and drive them back to the depot. After this initial journey, the company was so impressed with EDI’s technology that they opted out of a drivability test period and put the vehicles directly into service on commuter routes the very next day, during one of the busiest times for the mass transportation industry—Lunar New Year. Optimized for the low-speed, stop-and-go driving of inner-city operations, EDI’s CNG PHEV buses helped to ease transportation congestion, allowing local residents and tourists to travel effortlessly during the busy holiday season.
Built upon the foundation of the company’s proven EDI drivetrain, the buses were manufactured entirely in China with local components and EDI control systems. The mass transportation solution has been certified by the government of China after undergoing vehicle durability, performance, and emissions testing.
More information on the CNG PHEV official certification from the government of China can be found in our January 2015 newsletter.
American cities slowly warming to electric buses while China rushes ahead
Contributed by guest author: Alysha Webb
In early February, a large group gathered at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to take a short, silent ride on a bus. The event, sponsored by Chinese automaker BYD, was meant to show off the company’s new articulated 60-ft pure electric bus.
The bus was produced at a new plant in nearby Lancaster, California at BYD’s new plant. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority has already purchased five of BYD’s 40-ft electric buses. “They are undergoing testing and certification right now and should be in service within a month,” stated Macy Neshati, Vice President of Sales at BYD Bus and Coach. “We are talking to other cities about sales,” he added.
Municipal buses seem like a natural fit for electrification. They run set routes and return to the same place each night, so recharging is easy. Cities have been slow to bring them into their fleets, however, worried about the initial high cost and uncertain about the technology.
A growing number of cities are trying out electric buses, however, and the U.S. market for them is slowing expanding. Meanwhile, other countries are aggressively adding electric buses to municipal fleets.
Seattle is giving electric buses a try. King County Metro Transit, which includes Seattle, agreed last year to purchase two 40-ft pure electric buses from Proterra, a manufacturer based in South Carolina. The buses will arrive in the city this summer.
“The outcome of the testing will help us determine whether battery electric buses represent a promising future replacement option for our regular 40-ft diesel coaches,” said Rochelle Ogershok, a spokesperson for King County Metro.
Electric buses are already integrated into other city fleets. In January, Louisville, Kentucky began running 10 all-electric buses, also produced by Proterra, in its downtown area. The emission-free buses replaced the city’s diesel trolleys.
“Cities have not leapt on the electric bus bandwagon more enthusiastically because they are reluctant to bring in new technology and they worry about the cost,” said Rick Sikes, a consultant and former fleet superintendent for the City of Santa Monica, California. “Plug-in (electric) buses will become a big part of fleets when they put in the infrastructure for fast charging,” added Sikes.
Louisville already has. Its electric buses recharge in just a few minutes through two fast chargers installed along the route. The chargers are also produced by Proterra.
The technology isn’t cheap, however. Louisville paid $11 million for its 10 buses and two chargers. The majority of the funding came from the federal government, as is true in most of the U.S. cities trying out electric buses.
Booming global demand
The cost of electric buses is forecast to drop as battery technology improves, and the global market for pure electric and other electrified buses is expected to boom. Technology research firm TechNavio forecasts the global market for pure electric buses will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 16.26 percent from 2013 to 2018.
Market research firm IDTechEx predicts the market for medium- and large-sized hybrid and pure electric buses will be over $72 billion in 2025.
One country looms large in those forecasts: China. Its central government has mandated that 30 percent of new vehicle purchases by municipal fleets be new energy vehicles, including pure electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and hydrogen fuel cell buses. The Chinese government is also subsidizing new energy vehicle purchases.
That has created opportunity for U.S. firms with the right technology. Northern California’s Efficient Drivetrains Inc. is partnering with Shaanxi Automobile Group to produce a CNG plug-in hybrid electric bus for use in China. In January, EDI announced the bus -- which uses an EDI drivetrain -- had been certified in China.
Many Chinese cities already have electric buses in their fleets. Not unexpectedly, Shenzhen, where automaker BYD is headquartered, has what it claims is the world’s largest electric bus fleet.
Its goal is for electric buses to account for half of its fleet of 10,000 buses by the end of this year. BYD has already sold the city close to two thousand.
Other Chinese cities are also big BYD customers. Last May, the east China city of Hangzhou reportedly ordered 2,000 electric buses from BYD, and the northeast China city of Dalian is reported to have ordered 1,200 BYD buses.
China’s capitol city Beijing has also somewhat belatedly hopped on the clean fleet bandwagon. It has pledged to have 80 percent of its fleet of close to 14,000 buses running on clean energy by 2017, including some 4,000 electric buses.