Plug-In Hybrid Armored Truck…Oh Yeah!

3 months ago by Mark Kane 7

More info behind the building of the world’s first plug-in hybrid CNG armored truck, that we first heard about roughly two years ago, has come to light.

Specifically, it seems that this past month, the delivery of the first of six planned units to Sectran Security took place…so not a lot of news in between the announcement and wheels-on-the-ground.

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. Delivers Industry-First PHEV, Renewable CNG Armored Truck

The ~20-miles of all-electric range should help to reduce emissions by 90% over diesel, at least according to Efficient Drivetrains.

The main advantage of plug-in armored truck is apparently its capability to be ready for a quick escape … without the need for an idling engine (sometimes forbidden for more than five minutes).

“Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a global leader in advanced high-efficiency zero emissions hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrain solutions announced today that it has delivered the first of six Plug-in-Hybrid Electric Armored vehicles to Sectran Security. The industry-first Class-6 International brand armored truck was the first delivery from the company’s newly expanded Dixon, California hybrid and electric vehicle center of excellence.

The vehicle program is a collaboration between Efficient Drivetrains, and North American Repower– California’s leading natural gas engine management and conversion technology company. Under a California Energy Commission grant, the companies care working to convert a fleet of six, Class-6 International armored trucks into “Zero Emission with Range Extension” vehicles– PHEV trucks that operate with electricity and renewable natural gas. The result is a full OEM-performance electric vehicle that utilizes RNG for range extension and reduces emissions by up to 99% in certain duty cycles. The collaboration between the companies is a model program to support the rapid acceleration towards a zero emissions environment.

Currently, Sectran Security trucks make frequent stops as part of their highly congested routes. At each stop, engines are kept idling for security purposes, but now risk violating California’s strict diesel idling regulations, which prohibit idling the engine for more than five minutes. With the modernized trucks, engine idling is eliminated entirely, by operating in all-electric mode during stop-and-go operations, and in hybrid mode using RNG during highway operations. When the full fleet of six is complete, the vehicles will enable Sectran to reduce annual diesel consumption by 31,000+ gallons, significantly reduce annual fuel costs, and reduce emissions by up to 99.9 percent.

News Highlights:

  • Efficient Drivetrains announces the first delivery in a fleet of six PHEV armored trucks to Sectran Security
  • The company’s EDI PowerDrive™ 6000 was integrated into a Class-6 International brand vehicle, and includes vehicle management and telematics capabilities with the integrated EDI PowerSuite™
  • The fleet of armored trucks will be used by Sectran Security in normal, Cash-In Transit routes-demonstrating significant fuel savings and up to 99% emissions reduction over typical diesel powered trucks in their fleet
  • When the full fleet of six is complete, the vehicles will enable Sectran to reduce annual diesel consumption by 31,000+ gallons, significantly reduce annual fuel costs, and reduce emissions by 99.9 percent
  • The EDI PowerDrive™ 6000 has been durability tested over 1.5 million miles in a commercial fleet setting of city buses, and has been deployed across major North American OEMs including International, Freightliner, and Peterbilt platforms
  • The vehicle program is a collaboration between Efficient Drivetrains and North American Repower includes funding from the California Energy Commission, which approved a $3 million grant award from its Energy Research and Development Division

Joerg Ferchau, CEO, Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. said:

“The technology collaboration between Efficient Drivetrains and North American Repower represents tremendous potential as we work to improve air quality and meet industry mandates related to emissions reductions. World’s-first vehicle programs like these play an essential role in helping California meet its aggressive carbon reduction and zero emissions goals. We’re looking forward to completing the full fleet this year.

“With the extension of the EDI PowerDrive™ into the International vehicle platform, the Efficient Drivetrains portfolio of vehicle integration projects represents one of the largest in the industry, spanning all major OEMs in the medium and heavy duty space. The recent expansion of our Dixon, California Vehicle Integration Center of Excellence, has positioned EDI well to continue to deliver on programs like these.”

John Reed, North American Repower Chief Administrative Officer said:

“The combination of the North American Repower Renewable CNG solutions and PHEV technology from EDI represents an ideal combination, allowing complete duty cycle operation without refuel/recharging with extended range, and constant vehicle operation, like in the case of Sectran Security. The unique ability to the EDI PowerDrive in tandem allows elimination of transient IC engine operations dramatically reducing NOx when the CNG engine is in use. With RCNG becoming readily available at Clean Energy Stations, and the expansion of available charging infrastructure, we believe this collaboration will be transformative in our industry.”

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12 responses to "Plug-In Hybrid Armored Truck…Oh Yeah!"

  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Nice to see EVs expanding into different vehicle niches, but with only 20 miles of range, the market for this seems rather limited. I’m sure there are indeed regular armored car routes that would require less than 20 miles of travel per day… just as I’m sure there are many that would require more range.

    I would guess armored cars are rather expensive. How many fleet operators are going to invest in vehicles with such limited range?

    1. Jeff Carlton says:

      Yes, I was somewhat disappointed reading that it only has a 20 mile all-electric range but it is a hybrid with ‘renewable natural gas’ being its other fuel – so it is NOT range limited to 20 miles.

      This sentence excited me: “When the full fleet of six is complete, the vehicles will enable Sectran to reduce annual diesel consumption by 31,000+ gallons, significantly reduce annual fuel costs, and reduce emissions by up to 99.9 percent.” Idling diesel vehicles are the worst for those of us that must respire in urban settings – I hope they move on to school bus fleets next!

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        You’re right, I shouldn’t have been so negative. The armored car won’t have to stop after ~20 miles, it will just switch to its backup energy supply: natural gas.

        But all the claims about reducing costs in the article assume using electricity for power, as compared to the cost of burning diesel. If a substantial part of the range is powered by natural gas, that may still save money and reduce pollution, but by a lesser amount.

        Doesn’t necessarily mean the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) won’t favor the PHEV truck, but the cost/benefit equation would be different for trucks running beyond the electric range on a regular basis.

  2. Jason says:

    I doubt the claim of 90%reduction in emissions. You could easily do that with a regular truck just by introducing zero idle technology like Mazda and others have implemented. 20 miles range seems pretty low, but maybe they don’t travel very far each day.

  3. Steven says:

    My thoughts, armored cars leave the engine running for security purposes, electric vehicles have instant torque. So, the armored EV sits at a delivery or pick-up location without an engine idling for as much as twenty minutes per stop, the staff board the vehicle, secure all doors and the driver steps on the accelerator.
    Once on the road, the ICE starts up, and the battery recharges…
    Repeat as needed.

    Now explain to me why it “needs” more than a twenty mile range.

    And while your at it, how much fuel is it not consuming while sitting still.

    But what do I know.

  4. SJC says:

    Armored cars are over 50,000 pounds, 20 miles is amazing.

  5. Marli says:

    Rubbish trucks,delivery trucks, school buses,ice cream/hot dog vans.
    Lots off potential, also stop start utterly slaughters diesel wear and tear.

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