Odyne Systems is known for making big honking hybrid vehicles, things like the Dueco work truck we first saw in 2008. At the 2012 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis this week, Ford is showcasing the biggest plug-in hybrid vehicle with a J1772 connector that we know of: a PHEV F-750. Yes, that's a big one.
Odyne adds its plug-in architecture to work vehicles after the fact. The liquid-cooled 346V lithium-ion battery from Johnson Controls that's used in the system isn't that outrageous – only 14.2 kWh – but a converted truck can get two packs installed for extra energy at the work site. Aside from 120- or 240-volt exportable AC power, the plug-in hybrid powertrain provides launch assist and recaptures energy through regenerative braking. The battery packs can also power the truck's electronics to reduce idling.
With 28 kWh worth of batteries and a Level 2 charger, Odyne says a full charge takes just five hours. The hybrid system adds about 1,600 pounds, which we think is for a two-pack set-up. Johnson Controls has invested in Odyne, and the company works with Remy Motors on its powertrains.
Ford says the PHEV F-750 can save up to 1,750 gallons of fuel a year compared to a non-plug-in version, which adds up quickly when you've got $4 gallons of diesel. Odyne's Louise Hermsen told AutoblogGreen that the cost for the PHEV conversion can be up to $100,000 depending on options, and it is available now. In fact, she said 15 plug-in hybrid F-750s have been delivered already because, even though $100,000 is not cheap, "the whole equation hinges on what kind of fuel use reduction they're going to achieve. Making the decision to go with a hybrid takes a lot of data collection."
Odyne has been selling hybrid truck conversion kits for years, but most of them on the road are the older, lead-acid models. The company introduced the advanced li-ion system last June and has been working with customers to make them operate best for each individual situation. Odyne can modify the truck's software remotely as data comes in on how the trucks are being used, too (for example, how much time they spend at the job vs. on the road). Even with a vehicle this big, you want to keep track of every little thing.