Remember Wrightspeed (http://bit.ly/1u1e2z0)? When we last tuned in, it had developed a plug-in electric powertrain that can be retrofitted on garbage trucks to allow them to surpass The California Air Resources Board’s (ARB’s) emissions standards by 1,000 percent, plus save fleet owners more than $35,000 in fuel costs and $10,000 in maintenance costs per-truck, per-year.
This week the company announced a new product, an electric vehicle (EV) range extender called Fulcrum, which it described as representing “a breakthrough that challenges today’s piston engines and leaves existing turbine generators wanting.”
“The automotive industry is in the midst of a fundamental disruption, with electric vehicles merely symbolizing the beginning of the movement,” says company founder, CEO and namesake Ian Wright. “The Fulcrum, together with our range-extended EV architecture, is perfectly suited for achieving maximum efficiency in extremely high-power stop-and-go applications, such as garbage trucks.
“For many of the same reasons that aviation changed from piston engines to turbines decades ago, we believe turbines will begin to replace piston engines in range-extended electric vehicle applications.”
In Wrightspeed’s range-extended architecture, unlike in parallel hybrid architectures, the Fulcrum will not provide direct propulsion to the drive wheels, but be used to recharge the battery system. This means that the Fulcrum is only used when it is needed, and can run at the cleanest and most efficient operating point.
At 250 lbs., the Fulcrum is approximately one-tenth the weight of its piston generator counterparts and it is designed to have a 10,000 hour lifetime. While piston generators rely on catalytic converters to reduce their emissions by 10x to meet ARB standards, the Fulcrum turbine generator is clean enough to meet emissions standards without adding to weight or complexity.
Wright says a two-stage compression process and a unique recuperation design make the Fulcrum 30% more efficient than existing turbine generators, while tripling usable power. Its multi-fuel capabilities allow it to burn diesel, CNG, LNG, landfill gases, biodiesel, kerosene, propane, heating oil, and others.
Besides that, according to Wright, the Fulcrum will make for a smooth, comfortable ride for drivers and a quiet, clean experience for neighborhoods because of its ultra-low vibration.