Detroit startup Inventev has been named a semifinalist in the Cleantech Open national business competition for its patent-pending commercial fleet truck propulsion system that allows plug-in hybrid trucks to act as mobile electricity generators.
The propulsion system upfit is being targeted at class 4-6, medium-duty commercial trucks ― specifically, the Ford F550 electric utility or cable company line-service “bucket” truck. Dave Stenson, founder & CEO (and former GM executive) of Inventev, said that the best option would be to add the new transmission while the basic chassis is being upfitted to the bucket truck.
The Inventev transmission integrates a unit control sytem that includes power electronics, power controls, and a battery pack. This gives the truck a dual purpose: "The same electric machine propels the vehicle and generates utility-grade power when stationary," Stenson said.
“Everyone still has Hurricane Sandy in mind where there weren’t enough generators in the country to respond effectively, even bringing them from California,” Stenson said. “We plan to integrate neighborhood generating capacity onto fleets of hybrid electric trucks saving fuel every day while also having the standby generating capability when needed.”
Inventev is collaborating with the fleet department of electric company Pacific Gas & Electric and the energy technologies non-profit NextEnergy to advance the plug-in hybrid power-generating capability and to provide enhanced grid outage response, Stenson said.
NextEnergy will also host a regional workshop for the Cleantech Open Midwest semifinalists in mid-July. The competition will conclude regionally in Minneapolis in October with finalists competing for national awards in November in San Jose, California.
The Cleantech Open, a non-profit organization based in Palo Alto, Calif, has raised more than $800 million to help fund 727 cleantech startups.