Newsletter – October 2014



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NEWSLETTER: October 2014



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 feature market updates, contributed articles, and customer stories that describe how the team at EDI is working to deliver solutions that are right-sized for customer requirements.

In September, in partnership with PG&E, we formally unveiled the utility industry’s first plug-in electric hybrid drivetrain Class 5 work trucks, featuring 120kW exportable power that can be used to shorten or eliminate planned and unplanned outages.

Our China development team has also been very busy, collaborating with one of the world’s largest bus and truck manufacturers, Shaanxi Automotive to deliver the first PHEV city bus, which reduces fuel consumption by almost 44%.

EDI continues to set the standard for the development of “world’s first,” game-changing technologies.

CEO Corner, Point of View

Needless debate: The role of fossil fuel in global climate change

It’s just possible, that the on-going debate about whether or not the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to global climate change - is a needless debate. Regardless of whether someone agrees or disagrees that the burning of oil, gas, or coal are accelerating climate change, no one would argue against the undeniable need for cleaner air in order to maintain the health of ourselves and our children.


There are record numbers of people with asthma, lung and brain cancers, allergies, and other respiratory health issues worldwide and these can all be directly associated with levels of air pollution. We’re also seeing more stories in the news about worsening air quality, how that’s crossing borders and affecting neighboring countries, and even protests against “dirty air” projects where people have had enough.


The types of hybrid and electric technologies that we are all working on do have a tremendous ability to reduce emissions and to improve the quality of the air, especially when combined with cleaner and renewable sources of electricity. The goal of continuing to reduce emissions to clean up the air has to be one our highest priorities and that may also mean that we need to measure the ROI of the electric or hybrid vehicle less by the recovery of the incremental cost vs. a conventionally fueled vehicle and more in terms of how much less pollution it creates - even if it costs more.

So, although the global climate change debate will continue to be used to argue both for and against hybrid and electric vehicles, let’s do agree on the obvious which is - we need to continue to work on ways to clean up the air to keep pace with the rapidly increasing numbers of vehicles on the road worldwide.

Joerg Ferchau, CEO
Efficient Drivetrains Inc.

Learn more about EDI’s product portfolio


PG&E and EDI Unveil Class 5 Work Trucks

On September 17th, PG&E and EDI hosted a ceremony to unveil the utility industry’s first plug-in electric hybrid drivetrain Class 5 work trucks, featuring 120kW exportable power that can be used to shorten or eliminate planned and unplanned outages. PG&E partnered with EDI and Dixon-based Altec Industries, to develop two class 5 vehicles, both of which were designed, built and tested in the heart of California at EDI’s plant in Dixon. Two different models were unveiled, one, a Class 5 utility work truck featuring 120kW exportable power, capable of powering 80% of the transformers in PG&E’s service area.

The second is a Class 5 bucket truck, which allows all onboard equipment including the boom, climate control and tools to be operated off of battery power, eliminating the need to idle the engines of the trucks while at job sites. Both vehicles feature an all-electric range of approximately 30 miles and will reduce emissions by up to 80% when compared to conventional fuel vehicles. PG&E estimates that each EDI truck will save the utility over 850 gallons of fuel per year.


“If PG&E were to replace all class-5 vehicles in its fleet with the EDI units, emissions would be reduced by 9,000 metric tons and fuel savings would be nearly $4 million annually, said Dave Meisel, Senior Director of Transportation Services.” “The EDI trucks will allow new operational efficiencies for both maintenance with no service interruption, and disaster relief, we can power about 100 homes at the same time off of that vehicle,” he said.”

Learn more about EDI’s utility and telecom solutions

Read the full press release.


Shaanxi Automotive PHEV City Bus Project

EDI is currently working on a project in partnership with Shaanxi Automotive to develop PHEV powertrains for their large fleet of city buses. The first-of-its-kind solution includes EDI’s proprietary dual motor, dual clutch drivetrain, drivetrain and motor controllers, clutch controllers, and battery packs. The mechanical design and control architecture of EDI's drivetrain differentiates significantly from existing drivetrains on the market and is predicted to provide superior performance and durability.

EDI and Shaanxi Auto collaborated closely on PHEV bus project. Shaanxi built the sample bus and installed the powertrain provided by EDI, and EDI integrated and calibrated the control software into the vehicle. In just three short months, the team was able to complete the development process including the integration and testing of the vehicle control software in a sample bus. Both EDI-US and EDI-China put forth a tremendous effort to successfully meet the September deadline. The preliminary fuel consumption recorded 28 cubic meters of natural gas for every 100km, whereas a conventional bus using natural gas would consume 50 cubic meters for every 100km, which equates to a fuel reduction close to 44%.

The PHEV bus is currently on a 10,000km road test and expected to be certified in November. EDI is projected to provide a large volume of these PHEV powertrains in 2015.

Learn more about EDI’s product portfolio


EDI and DCB Power develop multi-chemistry battery system

Modern Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV) and Electric Vehicles (EV) have already achieved significant driving range improvements on electricity only. To provide another technical break through, EDI partnered with DCB Power, an early stage startup company, to develop a unique multi chemistry battery system for PHEVs and EVs.

The biggest limiter for PHEVs and EVs is the relatively short driving range such vehicles can accomplish in all electric driving mode. Most internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles can travel 300 to 400 miles on a single tank of fuel, and can then be rapidly refilled. In order to increase the All Electric Range (AER) of PHEVs and EVs, a larger, heavier, and more costly battery system is required. In addition, a typical size battery takes 4 to 9 hours to recharge.

To effectively compete with Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, the EDI/DCB development program is focused on providing a battery system for PHEVs and EVs that can achieve a 50% greater AER at the same volume and cost of a conventional battery system.

The technology is optimized on multiple levels:
- Typical consumer driving habits are considered
- Multiple battery cell chemistries are applied based on their specific characteristics
- A sophisticated control system developed to efficiently manage the energy available from multiple cell chemistries

New techniques in the control and management of high power electronics Current tests conducted at EDI’s R&D facility in Dixon CA have demonstrated a fully functional new battery configuration and control system that achieve significant range improvements and cost reductions.

This new technology is being tested with the support of the California Energy Commission and the program will continue to develop a market ready product for a wide range of vehicles and customers.

Learn more about EDI’s products and services.


CARB gets more funding and focuses on disadvantaged communities

Contributed by guest author: Alysha Webb
California is well-known as a leader in supporting ownership of zero-emission passenger cars. Less attention has been paid to its support of zero-emission trucks and buses. The latest California’s Air Resources Board budget has increased funding for this area, funding that is critical to convincing fleets to go “green,” and to meeting California’s ambitious targets for zero-emission vehicles on its roads.

“Fleets will buy these vehicles if the numbers ‘work’ and incentives help that to occur, particularly if we are talking about buses and trucks,” says Alan Baum, a consultant in Michigan.


In 2012, California set a goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. The state’s Zero Emission Vehicle funding is included in its annual low carbon transportation plan, which is administered by the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. In the plan for Fiscal Year 2014-2015, CARB was budgeted $222 million.

That is a huge increase over previous years, which have seen funding around $30 million. The boost came from proceeds from California’s Cap and Trade program under which greenhouse gas permits are sold to companies, says Melanie Turner, a CARB spokeswoman.

Among other programs, the funding pays for rebates to buyers of zero-emission vehicles. It also supports vouchers for hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses and demonstrations of advanced technology heavy-duty vehicle and equipment deployments.

A new element to this year’s plan – besides the additional funding – is an emphasis on disadvantaged communities. According to the plan, $100 million, or nearly half the budget, must go to such communities. Of that, 85 percent is focused on heavy duty vehicles and equipment.

While that might seem a hindrance to expanding use of hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses, it actually focuses the funds on areas of concentrated use of freight vehicles, says Turner.

“Many of the most disadvantaged communities in California are located near ports and intermodal rail facilities,” she says. “One of the primary reasons we’re making those investments is to reduce emissions and improve health in those communities, recognizing that the freight sector has had an impact (there).”

So, for example, $10 to $15 million in incentives is available for the purchase of heavy-duty hybrid and electric vehicles such as delivery trucks in those areas. Another $50 million is allocated for advanced technology freight demonstration projects including zero-emission drayage trucks that service ports.

That adds to the existing push by California’s ports to add more zero- or low-emission vehicles. For example, the Port of Long Beach is providing $2 million to help fund a program with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to electrify trucks through overhead cables in some areas of the port.

There is plenty of room for more electrification, however. The Port of Long Beach alone has some 11,000 drayage vehicles signed up to work there, says Port spokesman Lee Peterson.

More HOV lane stickers and EVSEs on rental properties 

Of course, California also continues to enthusiastically encourage consumers to use zero emission vehicles, as a rash of bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September proved.


Among the six bills were free or reduced rates for HOV lane stickers and an increase in the number of stickers. The stickers have helped drive PEV sales in traffic-clogged California.

Also, a requirement that commercial and residential property owners approve installation of charging stations by renters.

PEV advocate and LEAF salesman Paul Scott figures that is one of the most impactful of the six bills. “Several million CA residents fall into this category so it should open up the market quite a bit once word gets out,” he says.

But, adds Scott, “one unfortunate compromise was that rent control residents are not part of this law. The lobby for landlords was able to negotiate out of this bill so if rent control residents want to install charging stations they will have to organize and lobby for inclusion in the next (legislative) session.”



CNG PHEV Technology Advantages

The recent events in the oil and gas industry show that there is a sudden over supply of Natural Gas (NG) available due to the fracking in oil wells. The ability to extract more oil means that Natural Gas is available at a low price. To make the Natural Gas usable for transportation it must be compressed to about 250 atmospheres or around 3600 psi because its energy space density is too small at low pressure. The problem for Natural Gas vehicles is that the energy density at this high pressure is still less dense than Diesel fuel; therefore the gas compression industry will be big winners at this time. The advantage is that due to the large supply of Natural Gas, the price is much lower for each kW-hr of energy from CNG; however there are few CNG stations in society and it is thus difficult to find filling stations far from local neighborhoods. This lack of infrastructure creates range anxiety for electric and other CNG drivers.
EDI will be constructing Class 4 delivery trucks with the advantage of a dual fuel Plug-In Hybrid Electric (PHEV) system that can go approximately 40 miles at full performance on electricity only and 120 miles on CNG alone, for a total range of approximately 160 miles. From an air quality standpoint, the CNG-PHEV is much cleaner than the pure CNG system or the conventional Diesel. It is in fact about as clean as a pure electric vehicle from the “Tank to the Wheels”. From a “Well to Wheels” emissions point of view, it rivals the pure electric truck as the grid electricity is about 50% NG. The system has the potential to become even cleaner if electricity derives from Solar or Wind.
Professor Andy Frank, CTO
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc.


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