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NEWSLETTER: JANUARY 2015
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.
CEO Corner, Point of View
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.