Newsletter – January 2015



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In this Issue:

In this edition, we feature our 2015 areas of focus, news on EDI’s Mass Transportation Solution, a point of view on PHEV measurement methodology, and perspectives on the influence fuel prices play on the PHEV industry.


CEO Corner, Point of View

Mission 2015

Moving into 2015, EDI is reaffirming its commitment to helping our customers build the best plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicle drivetrain solutions on the planet, as well as accelerating advancements in the industry. We’ll be continuing our heritage of “world’s first” innovation, inspired through the lens of our customers, and rooted in high-quality delivery and service.


This year, you can look forward to some of these highlights from EDI:

  • As regulatory requirements continue to evolve in the area of commercial fleets, we’ll continue to expand our solution offering for the Utility and Telecom marketplace, extending our offering beyond Class 3-5 into a broader vehicle class. We’ll also work to advance the efficiency, power export, and performance of our existing solutions.
  • As a recent recipient of durability, emissions and performance certification by the government of China, we’ll introduce our PHEV, EV, and PHEV-CNG mass transportation bus solutions to the broader international market.
  • We’ll grow our CNG-PHEV logistics truck offering into market-ready solutions for specialty and freight applications.
  • We continue to advance our solutions in the area of continuously variable transmissions (CVT’s), battery systems, and control software.


I often get asked the question “Why do customers partner with EDI?” Quite simply, because we provide the kind of creativity, innovative thinking and partnership that enables the deployment of new solutions that provide real advantages for our customers. We also have broad international experience, with a range of unique platforms and solutions and have already implemented those in everything from sedans to SUVs, to trucks and buses.

We are very grateful to our customers and partners for the opportunity to support their business goals and are looking forward to an exciting year where we can continue to transform the industry and find great ways to minimize emissions and use of fossil fuels.
Joerg Ferchau, CEO
Efficient Drivetrains Inc.

Learn more about EDI’s product portfolio

CNG PHEV City Bus Successfully Completes Certification

EDI recently collaborated with a large Chinese bus OEM, EuEase to produce a low-cost, durable, compressed natural gas (CNG) PHEV bus. Built upon the foundation of the company’s proven EDI drivetrain, the new bus will be manufactured entirely in China with local components and EDI control systems.

The collaboration began in early 2014 based on EuEase’s need for a CNG PHEV bus optimized for the low-speed, stop-and-go driving of inner-city operations. The project was ideal for EDI’s PHEV drive, which can run in all-electric mode for 30 to 50 kilometers per day and recover energy through opportunistic charging at the depot or en route. Although the batteries are used primarily for propulsion, they can also be used to power bus accessories, such as air conditioning, heating, and power steering.

In late 2014 the EDI city bus took to the roads for certification, undergoing 10,000km of vehicle durability, performance, and emissions testing, and significant real-life city scenarios (start & stop). The CNG PHEV bus successfully completed the testing and has received the official certification from the government of China.

“We believe that this new PHEV bus has tremendous potential in China,” says CW Chen, Vice President of Technology and Business Development. “Not only can it reduce emissions and fuel consumption by 50 percent, but it is also a smart investment for mass transportation solution providers. In many cases, a buyer sees an ROI in under 18 months.”

The market-ready bus has already captured the interest of prospects. A local municipality demonstrated the bus and was impressed enough with its performance to place a production order.

More information on our technology can be found on our solutions page.


Plug-in Sales Aren't Strictly a Matter of Avoiding High Gas Prices

Contributed by guest author: Alysha Webb
With gas prices dropping below $3.00 in some states, pundits are predicting that plug-in electric vehicles will cease to be an attractive option for drivers. That is too simplistic an interpretation of the market, however. There is still a long-term market for PEVs with both consumers and fleets because the purchase decision for a PEV buyer is not strictly dependent on high gas prices. A steady stream of new vehicles will feed that demand.


“I don’t consider gas prices to be a significant determining factor because when a person goes in to buy an EV, they already know electricity is cheaper even at a gas price of $2.50 a gallon,” says Scott Shepard, a research analyst of future electrification trends at Navigant Consulting Inc. “People buy PEVs for both environmental and image reasons,” he says. “Neither is especially related to the price of gas.”

Navigant forecasts compounded annual growth rate of 24.1 percent for light duty plug-in electric vehicles between 2016 and 2021, reaching global sales of 2.3 million units annually. Of that, North America will have annual sales of 875,455 units in 2021, a compounded annual growth rate of 21.2 percent. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will account for more than 60 percent of those North American PEV sales.

Almost every major automaker has committed to producing plug-in electric vehicles in the coming years. Nissan is the best-known example. Its battery-electric LEAF is the best-selling PEV in the U.S. In 2014, Nissan sold 30,200 units here, up 31 percent compared to the previous year. The second-generation LEAF is due in 2016. Other automakers are also committed to plug-in electric vehicles. For example, Volkswagen Group, the world’s largest automaker, plans to offer a plug-in hybrid electric model across all its brands. That includes Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche and even Bentley. “We will have a PHEV Bentley by 2017,” said spokesman Corey Profitt. “It is an element of performance.” Even FCA Group (the former Fiat Chrysler), whose chairman Sergio Marchionne once told people not to buy the Fiat 500e battery electric car, will nonetheless launch a plug-in hybrid minivan.

To be sure, part of that planning is driven by regulation. The U.S. mandates that automakers have a Corporate Average Fleet Economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Most automakers must include various types of electric vehicles in their portfolio to achieve that goal. Some states, most importantly California, also require automakers to sell a certain number of zero-emission vehicles or face penalties.

“Expect to see a wave of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles introduced over the next few years, and a few battery-electric vehicles,” says Shepard. “BEVs are a niche market,” he says. “PHEVs are meant to be bought and are not just compliance cars.” Many of those new PHEVs will be luxury models. The luxury segment is where much of the PEV passenger car sales growth is expected to occur in the near term. Already, PEVs account for a higher percentage of total luxury sales than their representation in the overall market. “The technology works really well for the luxury segment because the cost differential is a smaller percentage of the overall price,” says Shepard.


BMW’s i3 plug-in electric vehicle – that also offers a range extender option – sold more than 1,000 units in the eight months it was on sale in the U.S in 2014. BMW also launched its gull-wing door i8 PHEV sports car in 2014. Porsche in 2014 introduced a plug-in electric hybrid version of its Panamera sedan. Audi will also introduce its R3 E-tron plug-in electric sedan in 2015. Some aim to take on Tesla, currently the best-selling luxury PEV.
Fleets like that little something extra in their EVS 
Battery-electric vehicles have been slow to catch on for fleet use. “I think it is primarily a function of range concerns,” says Shepard. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are slowly catching on, especially when they offer additional features such as exportable energy or the ability to feed energy back to the grid. “Utilities and telecommunications companies are two industries that are keen on plug-in hybrid electric trucks,” says Shepard.

Starting this year, more than 70 utilities have committed to spend some $250 million over the next five years to add more electric vehicles to their fleets. One of the biggest is Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E is currently trying out plug-in hybrid electric class 5 bucket trucks provided by Efficient Drivetrains Inc., a company based in Dixon, Calif. The trucks are capable of providing 120 kW of exportable power, a feature EDI added at the request of PG&E. With that power it can light a neighborhood using its fleet. Also recently, Los Angeles Air Force Base unveiled a 42-vehicle fleet of plug-in electric vehicles. All are capable of providing power back the electric grid at the base. “This vehicle-to-grid pilot is a great example of how Airmen are driving the Air Force forward and finding new and innovative ways to make every dollar count,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in a press release.



The Case for Advancing PHEV Emissions Measurement Methodology

The introduction of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) has created some new complications for emission regulation. Vehicle certification agencies currently consider HEV’s to be the same as Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) because PHEV’s are not plugged into the electric- grid. This makes sense as the PHEV technology is so new, there is no data to support the amount of electricity needed to displace the gasoline used in the different models of PHEV’s. PHEV’s have variations in their All-Electric Range (AER), control modes and battery sizes.
These variations complicate the issue of equal emission testing and regulation for dual fuel vehicles. In order for the alternative fuel sector of transportation to be judged uniformly and consistently for all technologies, a regulated and directed policy should be created to encourage the development and use of the best technology from a technical, economical, and evolutionary basis. The main question is how much fossil fuel (gasoline, diesel, or natural gas) is used by a vehicle classified as a PHEV. A more universal view should be taken of the whole division of vehicles that are dual fuel; keeping in mind the goals of cost control, emissions, fossil fuel displacement, CO2 generation, future growth of various fuel types, and adherence to ZEV requirements.


All vehicle types should be judged by the amount of the emissions and CO2 that will be created by the average American consumer as compared to the old fossil fuel vehicles. For example, a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) with 80 miles of AER also requires the use of a conventional Gasoline or Diesel. This 80 mile AER BEV will use 90% electricity with the BEV and 10% Gasoline annually to cover an average of 12,000 miles of travel. While a 200 mile AER BEV may use 95% electricity and 5% fossil fuel on the same trip. The same concept can be developed for all the alternative fuel vehicles and proposals introduced by the car companies.

The infrastructure for the creation and distribution of the new energy sources (electricity and alternative fuels) needed by each new technology must also be considered in current and future use of the fuel. Both cost and availability through charging stations distribution etc, needs to be considered in today’s market and projected into the future. Just considering the car’s tailpipe for regulation and certification as is now done is inadequate and needs to be corrected as soon as possible as more variations to dual fuel vehicles will continue to be developed.
Professor Andy Frank, CTO
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc.


March 4-6, IN: NTEA Work Truck Show

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