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ALTe Partners with Industry Giant Manheim: First Step to Create Gas-Guzzler Retrofit Industry
Apr 7, 2011 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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Today, ALTe Powertrain Technologies, a Michigan startup created by electric vehicle experts (part of Tesla's original technical team in Michigan), with a staff and board of seasoned auto industry veterans, is announcing an installer partner to convert fleet trucks to plug in. It's Manheim, the world's largest vehicle wholesaler, and the conversions will be available in multiple U.S. locations. ALTe may be the first company to demonstrate a realistic technical solution and a business case for the "Big Fix" strategy that CalCars, Andy Grove, and others have been promoting. Its Ford F-150 pickup truck becomes a series plug-in hybrid (like the Chevy Volt) -- and for sales it's aiming first at public and private fleet markets. Yesterday, ALTE brought its prototype to Sacramento for demos and drives, attracting a large audiences of legislators and agency officials, including Caltrans, the state's Department of Transportation, which has a large fleet. Today it's at Sand HIll Road in Silicon Valley. Following soon after today's announcement will be news of the first customers -- and, we hope, a US Department of Energy loan!

BACKGROUND: WHY WE NEED THIS STRATEGY: Since declaring victory in 2009 on our campaign to put plug-in hybrids on the map, the non-profit has shifted much of our focus to promote safe, affordable, warrantied conversions of large gas-guzzlers to PHEVs and EVs. Why? It's a spectacular achievement that we'll soon have a million new plug-in vehicles. BUT, because there are 250 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. and 900 million globally, the percentage of new plug-in vehicles in the total fleet (and the resulting reduction in petroleum use) will remain minimal for 15-20 years. This is a point that San Jose Mercury News reporter Paul Rogers ably made Monday, saying, "However, it will take a decade or more until enough electric vehicles are on the road to make a significant impact [on emissions]."­breaking-news/­ci_17767977

Of course, we can't wait decades to address climate change and energy security. That's why we're working for the emergence of a new global industry to retrofit millions of existing vehicles long before we see large numbers of new ones. This new industry will need mind-share, flexible regulations and standards -- and, for equivalent amounts of petroleum reduction, public incentives at levels similar to those available for new vehicles. For more analysis and information on this strategy, links to previous stories about ALTe, and information about other emerging companies in this industry, see­ice-conversions.html .

and see a roundup of new plug-in trucks, see "Plugging Electric Drivetrains into Trucks" at­plugging-electric-drivetrains-trucks-106998.html

TODAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT: Here's the press release, also found at and­news-releases/­alte-powertrain-technologies-and-manheim-announce-partnership-to-install-alte-powertrains-in-fleet-vehicles-119395139.html.


AUBURN HILLS, MI -- April 7, 2011 -- ALTe Powertrain Technologies, the Michigan-based developer of a Range Extended Electric Powertrain, is pleased to announce an agreement with Manheim, the automotive industry's leader in remarketing services, regarding the installation of ALTe powertrains in fleet vehicles. With this partnership, ALTe's fleet customers will be able to take their vehicle to a Manheim operating location and Manheim will retrofit their light trucks and vans with an ALTe series plug-in electric hybrid powertrain. The fleet customer will then reinsert the vehicle back into its fleet and realize fuel economy improvements of up to 200 percent.

According to ALTe CEO John Thomas, "ALTe is excited to have the opportunity to work with Manheim, which is recognized as the world's leading remarketing company. Their reputation for quality and their familiarity with the fleet industry is a perfect fit for our business model. We look forward to their participation in the electrification of the automotive industry as we progress toward next year's product launch for ALTe."

"We were extremely impressed with the ALTe technology, management team, and business model and are looking forward to expanding the broad range of services that we presently offer to our fleet and automotive customers," said Fredrick Standfield, Manheim's Vice President of Frontline Operations. "This partnership will allow us to utilize available capacity in our auction facilities and complements our strategy to grow our revenue base within the clean technology space."

The major components of the ALTe powertrain will include a 20kWh lithium ion battery pack, a four-cylinder engine, electric drive motors, a generator, a proprietary hybrid controller unit and HVAC modules. The powertrain is projected to provide an initial 30 miles of driving in an all-electric mode, powered directly from the lithium ion battery pack. The vehicle can then drive an estimated additional 275 miles in a charge-sustained mode before the vehicle would need to be either plugged in or refueled. The battery pack can be charged within an 8-hour timeframe from a 110-volt outlet or in about 4 hours from a 220-volt outlet. Fuel economy is projected to increase by up to 200 percent with no loss in cargo capacity, increased torque, and comparable horsepower and towing capability when compared with the old V8 engine.

The ALTe powertrain is targeted to the light truck market (full size pickups and vans) with a focus on commercial, government and utility fleets. Job #1 for ALTe is projected for spring 2012 with the company beginning to accept purchase orders at the end of 2011.


Manheim ( is the world's leading provider of vehicle remarketing services. Through its 130 worldwide wholesale operating locations, Manheim impacts every stage of a used vehicle's life cycle, helping commercial sellers and automobile dealers maximize the full value of their vehicles. Drawing from its auction transaction volume, Manheim Consulting publishes the annual Used Car Market Report, the definitive source of data for the used car industry. Manheim Consulting offers a wide range of services including custom analytics, business optimization and macro economic analysis.

Manheim is the online vehicle remarketing leader, connecting buyers and sellers to the world's largest, most comprehensive wholesale marketplace through its extensive in-lane and online offerings. receives nearly 900,000 visits each week.

Additionally, Manheim offers services including reconditioning, certification, inspections, dealer financing, title management and marshaling, among others. Through its wide array of services and technologies, industry publications, customer support and educational offerings, Manheim gives its customers maximum control over how they buy and sell vehicles, helping them to conduct business in the most efficient way possible. In 2010, Manheim handled nearly 10 million used vehicles, facilitating transactions worth more than $50 billion in value.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Manheim is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company.


ALTe is the developer of a Range Extended Electric Powertrain used to repower light commercial vehicles up to 26,000 GVW. The system will retrofit into existing fleet vehicles as well as in "glider" applications of new vehicles to dramatically increase their fuel economy and lower emissions. Designed to replace a base V-8 internal combustion engine powertrain, the system's patented technology improves fuel economy from 80% to 200%. Based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the company is headquartered in an 185,000 square foot facility where it will assemble its powertrain kit that will be shipped to installation locations across North America. For more information, visit

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