Ian Wright, he of Ariel Atom converted to Wrightspeed X1 fame, has recently been more vocal about his dream of an efficient hybrid powertrain for heavy and high-performance vehicles. His has, in fact, been kicking this idea around for some time but now it seems he's really getting serious and has wooed $5 million in Series A funding for the range-extended cause from a private investor.

Coined the Digital DriveSystem (DDS), the set-up is composed of a battery system, electric motors and drive electronics, generator control system, vehicle dynamics control, user interface and the software control plane. Wright contends fuel savings performance and compact packaging makes his system superior to others.

In addition to the investment, Wrightspeed is also announcing the addition of David Welch, Ph.D to the board of directors. Welch is a co-founder, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of digital optical network company Infinera. In the press release that follows after the break, it is not mentioned whether the two events are intimately related.

[Source: Wrightspeed]


Clean Tech Startup Secures $5 Million in Funding for Development of Their Extended-Range Hybrid-Electric Digital DriveSystem

SAN JOSE, CA., -- Wrightspeed, Inc., today announced it has secured $5 million in a Series A financing from a private investor. The funding will be used to support the development of Wrightspeed's Digital DriveSystem – an extended-range hybrid electric drive system targeted at high fuel consumption and high-performance vehicles. "Our technology will displace at least 3,000 gallons of fuel per year per high-usage vehicle," said founder and CEO, Ian Wright. The system takes a unique approach to on-board power generation and uses motors modularly, making it easy to tailor to a vehicle's specific use.

Joining the board of directors is David Welch, Ph.D., co-founder, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Infinera. "Wrightspeed's technology provides significant improvements in fuel savings and therefore in payback time for fleet operators," said Welch.

The Company's announcement comes on the heels of the October 25, 2010 announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the first ever programs to improve fuel efficiency for medium and heavy-duty vehicles. For further information on Wrightspeed, Inc. please visit www.wrightspeed.com

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