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New PHEVs: Ford Escape/Eaton Utiity Truck/Army/Mercedes by Siemens/Sprinter Expansion
Aug 23, 2007 (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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Here are reports on four new PHEVs: the Ford Escape Hybrid is one of a number of conversions on that platform. Long-awaited "bucket trucks" from Eaton for electric utilities are starting to arrive. An Army combat vehicle meets the military battlefield interest in improved fuel efficiency, low heat "footprint" for defensive reasons, and the availability of plentiful on-board electric power. The Mercedes from Siemens is one of the few recent conversions of a non-hybrid internal combustion engine car to a PHEV.

In addition, Mary Ann Wright, CEO of the Johnson Controls-SAFT joint venture (former head of the Ford Escape Hybrid program) announced an expansion of what is now called the Dodge (not Daimler) Sprinter PHEV prototype program to an unspecified number of "multiple locations within the United States."­companies/­J/­JohnsonControls/­newsreleases/­200782244739.htm

Another vendor, Electrovaya has delivered a converted Ford Escape Hybrid. This joins the Escape Hybrids converted by Illinois Institute of Technology and Hymotion, with additional vehicles forthcoming from Hybrids-Plus of Colorado, EnergyCS of Monrovia, Quantum (under a to-be-finalized contract with South Coast Air Quality Management District), and eventually, from Ford itself in partnership with Southern California Edison.

Find the Electrovaya press release at­mw/­; below is the Green Car Congress report: Electrovaya Delivers Plug-in Escape Hybrid to NYSERDA; Application of New MN-Series Li-Ion Cells­2007/­08/­electrovaya-del.html
8 August 2007

Electrovaya's subsidiary Electrovaya Company, located in Ballston Spa, New York, has delivered a converted Ford Escape SUV Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Electrovaya is using its new MN Series Lithium Ion SuperPolymer cells--a lithiated manganese oxide-based system--to build a 12 kWh pack that augments the original NiMH pack in the Escape. Electrovaya's testing indicates 130 mpg equivalency from the converted PHEV.

The MN cells offer up to 50% higher energy density with comparable safety characteristics to Electrovaya's Phosphate Series, according to Gitanjali DasGupta, Electrovaya's Project Manager, Electric Vehicle Program.

The MN-Series has an energy density of up to 210 Wh/kg versus the Phosphate wSeries, which offers up to 140 Wh/kg. On a cell-level, the MN-Series offers a volumetric energy density of up to 425 Wh/L. On a system-level, the prismatic large-format construction enables a volumetric saving of up to 22% as compared to cylindrically constructed cells--a volumetric saving common to prismatic cells.

The battery pack will recharge from 0% to 80% in less than 2 hours at 220V; a complete recharge (0% to 100%) is approximately 4 hours. A full charge at 120V is overnight.

This is the first Ford Escape to be converted to a PHEV by Electrovaya and to be operated and tested by NYSERDA as part of the $10-million New York State Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Technology Initiative aimed at converting the State's 500-plus standard hybrids to plug-in capability.

In December 2006, NYSERDA awarded four companies contracts for the conversion of conventional hybrids to plug-in hybrids: Hymotion, Hybrids Plus, Electrovaya and EnergyCS. (Earlier post.)

Evaluation will be carried out by Argonne National Laboratory, which has been has been designated by the US Department of Energy's Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies as lead national laboratory for the simulation, validation and laboratory evaluation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as well as advanced technologies required for PHEVs.

"By year's end we will have six plug-in conversions, testing the three major hybrid brands already in the State fleet, Ford Escape, Toyota Prius and Honda Civic. In cooperation with US DOE, we will test them and place them into daily service among various State agencies. Those results will offer us data on the potential to convert more State vehicles." -- Paul D. Tonko, NYSERDA president and CEO

Business 2.0
Green Wombat Blog
August 08, 2007
Utilities to Drive Hybrid Repair Trucks­greenwombat/­2007/­08/­utilties-to-dri.html

PG&E has put California's first hybrid diesel-electric service truck on the streets as part of pilot program to cut greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants while reducing fuel bills. The nationwide effort involves 14 utilities - from PG&E (PCG) and Southern California Edison (EIX) on the West Coast to American Electric Power (AEP) in the heartland to Duke Energy (DUK) and FPL (FPL) on the East Coast. Hydro Quebec also is participating in the truck trial. This morning a 16-ton "bucket truck" silently rolled up to a plaza in front of PG&E's San Francisco headquarters. The International truck can run up to 35 miles an hour on its electric drive train made by Eaton, according to Efrain Ornelas, PG&E senior program manager for clean air transportation. Batteries also power the bucket that lifts workers up to power lines. In a conventional bucket truck that equipment is powered by the vehicle's diesel engine, which is left idling and spewing carbon while the repair work is being performed. "Normally when one of these trucks is working in a neighborhood it's so loud you can't hear yourself talk," said Ornelas as the bucket quietly lifted a technician into the air.

According to PG&E, the hybrid bucket truck will slash fuel consumption up to 60 percent, saving up to $5,500 a year in diesel costs. The year-long trial will help the truck's manufacturer tweak the vehicle's final design. Ornelas said the electric lift can operate for about two hours on battery power, which should let PG&E customers get some sleep when trucks are dispatched in the dead of night to fix downed power lines. Meanwhile, as Green Wombat wrote earlier, New Jersey utility Public Service Electric and Gas (PEG) plans to replace a quarter of its 5,000-vehicle fleet with diesel-electric hybrids and biodiesel-powered trucks.

There's a report at Green Car Congress­2007/­08/­bae-systems-dem.html describing a new PHEV from the US Army, with integration from BAE Systems and lithium batteries from SAFT. Here's a shorter report:

US Army Goes Green Unveils First Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System for New Combat Vehicles­archives/­us_army_goes_green_unveils_first_

The U.S. Army unveiled its first hybrid-electric propulsion system for a new fleet of Manned Ground Vehicles (MGVs). The Army is developing and building eight new MGV variants for 15 Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Teams (FCS BCTs). All eight commonly-designed MGV variants will provide Soldiers with enhanced survivability, increased speed and mobility, new network-based capabilities, and more modern, modular technology. All the eight variants will have a common chassis saving the army a great deal of money. For the first time the Army will be integrating a functional hybrid-electric drive system into a combat vehicle. The drive system is part of the propulsion system that will power the vehicles.

The Army has long been at the forefront of developing hybrid-electric vehicles. In fact, the Army's hybrid-electric vehicles are significantly more robust and more powerful than commercial hybrid vehicles. The first hybrid- electric MGV variant, the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), will commence production in late 2008.

"The MGV drive train is unique," said Colonel Bryan McVeigh, product manager for MGV systems integration. "The traditional engine has been de-coupled from the drive train architecture and is designed only to recharge the energy storage system and power the vehicular systems. LINK:­fcs/­

Siemens flexes muscle in hybrid coupe
On Woodward, firm shows off modified sports car that coasts quietly using its electric motor.
Eric Morath / The Detroit News
Friday, August 17, 2007­apps/­pbcs.dll/­article?AID=/­20070817/­AUTO05/­708170327
CAPTION: The Siemens-modified Mercedes C-Class Sport Coupe boasts faster acceleration, more torque and better fuel economy.

DEARBORN -- Look out, Woodward cruisers, your big-block muscle car doesn't have anything on the high-performance hybrid coupe that Siemens VDO engineers are tooling around in this week.

Employing prototype hybrid technology, the German auto supplier on Thursday showed off a modified Mercedes C-Class Sport Coupe that boasts faster acceleration, more torque -- and better fuel economy -- than its gasoline-powered equivalent.

"This car will beat those muscle cars on Woodward off the line," Siemens spokesman David Ladd said at a media event.

In fact, Siemens engineers have taken the black coupe cruising on Woodward Avenue this week -- turning a few heads as it coasted silently using only its electric motor amid the rumble of 1960s Chevelles and Challengers. They also turned it loose on reporters, taking it for spins around Siemens' Dearborn electric powertrain facility.

The demo car packs its electric power into a lithium-ion battery in its trunk. That type of battery can hold more energy yet weigh less than batteries used in today's hybrids, but it is susceptible to overheating. Siemens is using the vehicle as a test for its battery cooling systems.

The coupe also employs two types of electric motors within the same vehicle. A parallel hybrid electric motor integrated into the vehicle's powertrain can power the car on its own or assist the gasoline engine. A second side mounted motor can start the gasoline engine while the other electric motor is driving the car, and bring the engine up to speed.

That ability to have high-torque electric startup and a boost in power when accelerating gives the hybrid its performance edge. The coupe reaches about 62 mph in six seconds -- a second faster than a gasoline equivalent with the same 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder engine.

"That type of performance has many auto manufacturers interested in driving this car," Siemens engineer Mathias Deiml said. "That's V-8 performance."

Even with the muscle, the vehicle uses 24 percent less gasoline than a standard Mercedes model and the demo car can exceed 35 mph in electric-only mode.

Siemens said the C-Class coupe is far from ready for production. The cost of its battery prices it out of the market.

But battery prices could fall in the next three to four years, Siemens officials noted, and work done on this demonstration has validated the rest of the vehicle's technology.

The auto supplier hopes to occupy a niche in the hybrid vehicle market, which grew by 35 percent in the first half of this year, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Making money on high-performance hybrids could be difficult, however, said Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain forecasting for J.D. Power. He said Honda's effort to use a hybrid powertrain to boost the performance of its Accord failed to catch consumers' eyes.

"People are mainly looking for fuel economy, not performance, with a hybrid," he said.

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