EDI welcomes you to our news bulletin where we promise to bring you valuable information and insight on the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrain industy. 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 monthy please subscribe. Thanks from EDI.
As we've been updating, EDI has been developing a new heavy duty PHEV bus drivetrain system for a major China OEM bus manufacturer. In order to test and refine the large system, the company has invested the past 2 quarters constructing a specialized dynamometer system along with refining the prototype drivetrain and control systems and software.
With the combined efforts of EDI's technical staff and visiting engineers from China, the sophisticated dynamometer and drivetrain was commissioned in May and is now fully operational. It will be used to characterize critical drivetrain components and to finalize the control software for the bus and drivetrain. The new system is expected to save at least 50% of fuel use in the City, to leverage battery energy for better highway performance, and to allow the bus to operate in EV mode for short moves or running air conditioning or heating without idling the diesel engine.
The dynamometer has been tailored to meet and test the extreme demands of the heavy duty PHEV equipment. The large, 1000+ horsepower capable system is an integral component for refining the drivetrain design and helping to demonstrate the validity of the technology to the industry and commercial partners. It addition to supporting current development needs, it will also be used for future development projects.
The specialized dynamometer operates in EV, series and parallel hybrid operating modes using a heavy duty truck Cummins diesel engine, custom developed motors and generators, a new lithium battery module, and control systems and software from EDI.
The company plans to complete the drivetrain system development and checkout by the end of Q2. Thereafter, the development teams expect to have the drivetrain operational and integrated into a vehicle by end of July. The vehicle, an Ankai heavy duty bus has already been constructed and is awaiting the final controls and system refinements from EDI.
Ankai Ltd., is the world's largest manufacturer of full-size fully electric buses with one of the industry's largest deployments of electric buses to date. The company further distinguishes itself by being one of the few China bus companies that imports vehicles into the U.S. Ankai, partnered with Daimler Buses produces the Setra brand buses under license for the Chinese market. Ankai and EDI have been partnered on the project since 2010.
EDI and Ankai believe that the new PHEV drivetrain solution will remedy the problems associated with all-electric buses and their lack of performance during freeway driving while using significantly less fuel than a conventional bus. Both companies expect on road vehicle testing to commence sometime in Q3.
Owners of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles may escape the range anxiety that afflicts drivers of a pure electric vehicle. But PHEV owners would still like to take full advantage of their car's electric range. More public charging stations would help. But widespread workplace charging is the best solution, say some.
"We think workplace charging should be given more attention," says Jasna Tomic, director of research programs at CalStart. "60% of all vehicles are used for commuting to work. If those folks have reliable charging, we have addressed a huge, huge, need." CalStart is a member organization dedicated to expanding the use of clean energy. It is working with the U.S. Department of Energy to expand workplace charging.
CalStart kicked off its participation last year with an event at the headquarters of internet giant Google, and now is holding a series of monthly workshops to promote installation of workplace EV charging stations.
Google has been very aggressive about adding workplace charging. But more than 30 major companies, including FaceBook, Dell, and Fedex have also committed to adding more workplace charging under the DOE's Workplace Charging Challenge.
Having charging stations is becoming an employee retention tool, say Tomic, and a perk employers can use to attract employees. It is also makes for happier and more productive employees, says Phil Libin CEO of Evernote Inc., a San Francisco-area company which creates time management smart phone applications.
Evernote has installed 10 Level 2 and one DC fast charger, and it gives $250 a month to any employee that buys or leases a car eligible for a High Occupancy Vehicle lane sticker. That includes pure electrics vehicles and PHEVs. Read More:
EDI has a number of new initiatives underway in addition to its vehicles, drivetrains, and continuously variable transmissions programs. A few recent highlights include:
The company has received increased support from the City of Wuxi in China in the form of additional investment capital as well as commitments to help with facilities and other benefits in Wuxi.
EDI has also just announced its intentions to begin manufacturing operations in Q3 in its NEAT Company located in Wuxi China. EDI had previously registered a company in Wuxi as a wholly owned foreign entity (WOFE) which had been focused on sales and business development support and is now expanding the charter and capabilities of the Wuxi Company to include manufacturing and technical support of drivetrains, battery systems, and prototype vehicles.
EDI has also attracted partners and has initiated a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) drivetrain system development program for a passenger vehicle optimized for the China market. The drivetrain system development will be completed at EDI's headquarters in California and the vehicle integration stage of the project will be completed at the company's China facilities. The company plans to commence vehicle testing in Q4, 2013.
Related to the company's CVT business; new concepts for smaller CVTs which may be used in automotive and light duty EV related applications have been started in collaboration with industry partners. The objective is to create an approach for a low cost CVT product line. EDI's CVTs have already achieved some of the highest efficiencies in the industry.
EDI has also started development of a medium duty commercial PHEV work truck drivetrain for the core U.S. market. The vehicle will offer new innovations and features not currently available on the market and will address many of the challenges existing industry designs fail to meet. EDI is expecting to announce partners and customers in the near future.
We'll continue to post updates as we make progress on these exciting new developments throughout the balance of the year.
Partnering for the Best Success
Generally speaking, most companies have to compete in order to successfully get their products into the marketplace and everyone works to the same high level philosophy of "faster, better, cheaper." While this competition is great for customers because it assures them of receiving the best products at the best prices, I believe that it really makes good business sense to partner when pursuing new markets or launching new technologies - when you can.
Although many companies have the ability to move into new markets, given enough time and resources, I've often seen where the lack of internal skillsets, experience, budget, or other resources result in the missing out on significant business opportunities. There are lots of ways to miss out and some of the common ones include: market windows being missed, bad products getting into customer's hands which damage a company's reputation, having to invest way too much capital to get launched, or coming out too late and having an obsolete product before you start. I've seen several examples of this in the semi-conductor industry where a breakthrough technology took so long for a single company to refine that the "status quo" it was replacing had already advanced making the breakthrough solution irrelevant.
At EDI, we're highly interested in great partnerships and we are actively developing those with motor and battery manufacturers, OEMs, industry suppliers, and consortiums. We believe that our unique solutions combined with the strengths of our partner manufacturers and incumbent industry suppliers will allow us all to see much greater success in the short term. Although you may have to share the opportunity and success – it's certainly much better than missing out altogether.
We welcome partnership opportunities and ideas and encourage our colleagues in the industry to contact us with their interests.
Joerg Ferchau, CEO
Efficient Drivetrains Inc.
Pure EVs Can't get us Where we Want to go
I'm always scratching my head when listening to Electric Vehicle (EV) enthusiasts claim that Pure EVs don't really have Range Anxiety (RA)... "as long as owners figure out how to optimally run them."
Their point-of-view is that it's the responsibility of the driver to learn the limitations of his vehicle and then plan his trip accordingly. But it is nowhere near as simple as gauging the limitations of a PHEV or conventional gas vehicle. First among the myriad things he'd have to discern is how many times during his trip would he approach battery limitation? If too many times, he'd have to consider alternatives, such as plan for long layovers to recharge the battery, rent a conventional car or PHEV, swap with a friend for a non-pure EV, take public transportation, or find some other means to fulfill that which has traditionally been fulfilled by his trusty old gasoline-powered car.
Going Pure EV would require a person to calculate many things to determine battery range. First among them is how an EV power charge changes constantly with driving habits. Does he accelerate to 65 in 5 seconds onto a highway? Bye-bye ~20% of his charge, right there! Does he put the peddle-to-the-metal going up hills? Then there is ambient temperature, terrain of travel, and many other factors that exert considerable influence batteries. If he forgets a factor such as temperature, or temperature suddenly changes during the trip? Well, hopefully his cell phone battery is in shape because he might be dialing for an EV rescue team to tow or quick charge him to get home in time for dinner! One or two such experiences will send him running back to the conventional gas-guzzler.
The ONLY solution for the next 50 or more years is Dual Fuel cars and trucks, PHEVs or EREVs. Yes, they are producing pretty sexy looking Pure EVs, but it will be a long time before batteries become cost effective and practical rivals to gasoline and Diesel.
To encourage PHEV/EREV ownership, we engineers must design vehicles to use the existing, readily available electric infrastructure, and to get the price of these vehicles down to where payback for incremental cost above conventional cars is less than a year. Then drivers will experience running costs substantially below conventional fossil fuel vehicles. The price of gas will affect this, surely, and oil companies will try holding us hostage until the very last minute, until we react the way past, foolish societies have when resources ran out. They were "suddenly" astonished!
The challenge is to design such vehicles in a configuration that can utilize the electric and bio-fuel energy supplies available today. As time progresses, the PHEV, electric energy, and bio-fuel companies can then develop together, organically, as a single coordinated industry each satisfying the other's demands, without overcapacity.
What to do with the fossil fuel companies? Convert them to developing fossil-fuel-made materials for products such as fully recyclable building construction materials and consumer products. It is then that we can stop polluting our atmosphere and avoid resource limitation "surprises"!
Professor Andy Frank, CTO
Efficient Drivetrains Inc.
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