AUBURN HILLS, MI – ALTe, which developed a range-extended electric powertrain used to repower light commercial vehicles, announced a collaborative effort with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to help validate the company’s powertrain for the fleet industry. 

With this agreement, ALTe will retrofit one of PG&E’s 2007 Ford F-150 trucks with its plug-in series electric hybrid powertrain. PG&E will evaluate the performance of the initial ALTe-powered truck and provide data and feedback to ALTe. 

“We are thrilled to partner with PG&E on this project that will further solidify the performance of our powertrain technology in the fleet industry,” said John Thomas, CEO of ALTe. “PG&E is recognized as a leader in both the utility fleet industry as well as in clean fuel technology. Their evaluation and feedback will be invaluable to ALTe and assist us in meeting the requirements of all of our fleet customers as we prepare for installations next year.”

The partnership is expected to help PG&E see the potential benefits of electric vehicle performance, including its reliability and cost-saving potential.  

“A major initiative in our operation today is to electrify our fleet, and by doing so use clean energy to power clean vehicles,” said Dave Meisel, PG&E’s director of transportation services. “This project supports our efforts in that area and will continue to show PG&E's commitment to the environment and to the citizens of California.  If successful, the technology could ultimately be applied to a large number of vehicles and applications within our fleet of trucks and vans.” 

The ALTe powertrain will include a 20kw lithium-ion battery pack, a four-cylinder engine, electric motors and proprietary communication interface 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 270 miles in a charge-sustained mode before the vehicle would need to be either refueled or plugged in. 

The battery pack can be charged within an eight-hour timeframe from a 110-volt outlet or in about four 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 similar horsepower and towing capability compared with the original V8 engine.

The ALTe powertrain is being targeted to the light truck market (full size pickups and vans) with a focus on commercial, government and utility fleets. ALTe is expected to start installing its electric powertrain systems in summer 2012, with the company beginning to accept purchase orders at the end of the 2011.

ALTe has developed a range-extended electric powertrain used to power light commercial vehicles up to 26,000 GVW. The system will be retrofit into existing fleet vehicles as well as used 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 percent to 200 percent. The company is based in Auburn Hills, Mich.