• Apr 17th 2011 at 12:28PM
  • 5

Plug-in hybrid conversion specialist ALTe Powertrain Technologies says that it has inked a deal with vehicle wholesaler Manheim to transform fleet trucks and vans into plug-in hybrid vehicles. Atlanta-based Manheim, which operates out of 145 locations in 19 countries on five continents, will install ALTe's conversion kits. These kits boast the ability to enable vehicles to go up to 30 miles under battery power.

Here's an ALTe history primer: two-plus years ago, the company had little more than a Powerpoint presentation demonstrating its ideas and worked out of a small place in Plymouth, MI. Now, with 185,000 square feet of space in Auburn Hills, MI, 16-plus employees (expected to be over 300 by 2012) and former Chrysler President Thomas LaSorda and former Chrysler sales executive Steven Landry on the company's board of directors, the future is looking bright. Add in a pending $101-million loan from the Department of Energy and the tie up with auction king Manheim, and the ball looks to be rolling in the right direction.

ALTe's estimated $25,000 conversion kit is designed to replace a V8 with a four-cylinder engine and a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which sends juice to an electric drive motor. The company claims that its plug-in hybrid setup is capable of boosting fuel economy by up to 200 percent (!). ALTe projects that Job Number 1 will roll out in the spring of 2012.

[Source: ALTe]
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AUBURN HILLS, MI – April 7, 2011 – ALTe Powertrain Technologies, the Michigan-based developer of a Range Extended Electric Powertain, 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.

About Manheim

Manheim (www.manheim.com) 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. Manheim.com 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.

About ALTe Powertrain Technologies

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 http://www.altellc.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hi! this is really good idea . i appreciate this concept.keep it up.
      Thanks for sharing.

      • 4 Years Ago
      This could make sense for fleets. Using various reasonable (?) assumptions, I get a break even point of something under five years on the $25K investment. Various government incentives would reduce that considerably.

      $25K seems high for non-fleet customers, however. An OEM plugin pickup/van with a $5000 markup from traditional gas could be a winner with $4 gasoline.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Yeah, it's alway a bit awkward when people start using over 100%, because the meaning gets a bit lost in the translation. Does he mean twice the normal fuel economy, or does he mean twice the savings, or what..I don't think he's deliberately exaggerating, simply using a vague, but enthusiastic term.

        The US is a bit of an exception, in most countries these lighter commercials would be small diesels. Only North America has V8 gas engines in delivery trucks and light commercials. but why not just buy a new Hino hybrid, or Ford transit EVHybrid or maybe a Smith Electric? I can't see the economic justification in converting existing vehicles for $25,000 .

        But, these are pretty experienced guys. The must have done due diligence before they started so it will be interesting to see what happens.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ALTe claims 200% improvement in fuel economy...... If my van gets 10mpg, 100% improvement means 20mpg. Another 100% increase means 40mpg. Those numbers are awesome! And fishy.
      • 4 Years Ago
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