Efficient Drivetrains Introduces CNG-PHEV Class-4 Truck

NOV 1 2015 BY MARK KANE 22

Efficient Drivetrains

Efficient Drivetrains

Efficient Drivetrains announced the first-of-its-kind plug-in truck with 40 miles (64 km) of all-electric range and 300 miles (over 480 km) total.  It’s the Chevy Volt of big rigs!

Besides zero emissions capability, this retrofited Class-4 JAC truck also runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Official unveiling was held at the Voice of the Customer (VOC), hosted by CALSTART at the Southern California Gas Energy Resource Center on October 6.

Whether the CNG-PHEV plug-in truck will attract fleet managers or not depends mainly on prices of such vehicles, which wasn’t mentioned.

News Highlights:

  • EDI, in partnership with Greenkraft, CALSTART and the California Energy Commission, designed and optimized an intelligent plug-in hybrid electric vehicle powertrain and battery pack with 40 miles of all-electric range. The EDI team integrated the optimized EDI-Drive into a Greenkraft 14,500-pound class-4 medium-duty CNG truck.
  • EDI’s technology effectively tripled the miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of the baseline CNG-powered truck from approximately 9 miles per GGE to 27.
  • The CNG-PHEV can achieve 100-percent all-electric operations and entirely eliminate the use of compressed natural gas when in EV mode.
  • The EDI Power Drive’s lightweight, modular, inline form allows easy optimization for a wide range of vehicle types with minimal changes to the original vehicle chassis and frame, making rapid conversions and market introductions possible.

Categories: Trucks


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22 Comments on "Efficient Drivetrains Introduces CNG-PHEV Class-4 Truck"

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A technology emitting 60 times more potent gas(methane) to the atmosphere than CO², and emitting when burned 75% much CO* as gasoline is in no way a progress.

RexxSee, better shut off all the Residential Gas Lines and stop using gas stoves, I guess, too! /sarc.

With all the focus on Hydrogen, would you recommend they change even more on an existing CNG Truck, and make it burn that?

Remember, this truck is not new, it already was running on CNG, they just incorporated a BEV drive function to it! And as you said – when burned is 25% less harmfull than gas! But most such trucks burn Diesel, so how does CNG compare to them? Plus, if used for short runs, with 50% Electric and 50% CNG over an 80 mile day, that would end up wth an average improvement of about 50% less CO2!

That does not seem to be so bad. Obviously, the first 40 miles might add some CO2 and other compounds due to generation but it could be charged off grid if they wanted, with a company wind turbine generator a d/or solar array of about a 50 kW to 100 kW size, per truck. I have seen company Wind Turbines of the 250 to 500 kW size at least, so I figure that is very doable!

“/sarc” was definitely not needed. Of course should we shut off residental gas lines and stop using gas stoves.
And by we I mean the rest of you.

We are getting there, some faster than others.

You’re serious, aren’t you?
What do you use as energy source for stovetop cooking?
1) If it’s electric, you’re going to need seriously non-standard wiring & wall sockets.

My bog-standard Siemens 4-burner unit puts out 8kW when all four are in use, which isn’t that rare.
The slightly more upscale residential ones with a “Wok burner” and/or 6 flames easily reach 12kW.

2) What do you do in a power outage?

Where is that 60% figure from? leaks from fracking?

This definite IS progress. It has battery for short trips and less emissions than diesel on long trips.

This is how I see the (distant) future of “renewable fueled” trucking. … when the methane will be produced from renewable sources.

Once methane storage is sorted out, it makes no sense to produce bio liquid fuel when you could stop at the more efficient (much higher EROEI) and easier to source/produce bio gas.

This PHEV/biogas combo seems more likely than all-electric trucking.

” first-of-its-kind plug-in truck ”

I doubt that. In 2013 I drove a Wrightspeed conversion that does the same.


I always wondered why the Prius drivetrain couldn’t be scaled up to cover off semitruck sized applications.

This is similar, I hope it takes off in a big way http://www.xlhybrids.com/

Because Toyota has an agenda: an agenda of rent seeking


Clearly, the CNG industry needs to buy even more politicians, to get onto the PowerPoint slide.

CNG is a more environmentally friendly fuel than gasoline or diesel, and — unlike hydrogen — is actually a practical fuel for running a car or truck.

In fact, it is amazing that our American national fleet of freight trucks hasn’t already been converted to use CNG, as it’s a much cheaper fuel than diesel.

1. Diesel Oil

Carbon Atoms – Diesel oil typically contains between 8-18 carbon atoms per molecule, depending on the grade of crude it is refined from.
Chemical Formula – C12H23
Density – 7 lb/US gallon
Energy Content – 128,700 BTU/US Gallon
CO2 Tail-pipe Emissions – 73.5 gms/MJ

3. Natural Gas

Carbon Atoms – 1
Chemical Formula – CH4
Energy Content – 1,000 BTU/cu.ft
Density – 8 kg/m3 (0.07lbs/US Gallon)
Emission of CO2 – 15g/MJ

Expense of conversion + expense of fuel and miles delivered = nogo -currently-.

The carbon to hydrogen ratio is much better on the CNG case.

I worry that most of the GHG benefit is lost due to CH4 leaks. CH4 is a much more potent GHG than CO2.

My natural gas utility stopped using natural gas powered trucks 10 years ago, but they are now getting back into it because the former leak problem has finally been seriously addressed (Why don’t they do this in the first place?). Its rather like when they finally came up with crosslinked PEX for water piping in new homes which they CLAIM will never leak. WHich they did with the old flexible piping which became brittle and leaked like a sieve. So hopefully its good this time. Aluminum wiring has its own analogue. They used to use transmission grade aluminum which was plenty strong enough, but connections would loosen over time (what I still have for my electric service, as opposed to the ‘8000’ alloy (e.g. Stabiloy) that along with the use of compacted (oblong) conducts finally keeps connections tight. I always used 125,000 btu/gal for gasoline, and 140,000 btu for diesel. Of course Ethanoled stuff is less, and the comparison oil here may be partially bio-fuel, which is less.. As far as the truck itself goes, it would be nice to compare prices, horsepower in each mode, and features, battery sizes, charger options etc. But in general it looks good. CNG… Read more »

In my knowledge and practice as an electrical contractor, the aluminum problem is more related to the oxidation of this metal, not the mechanical strength of it.
Aluminum oxide being one of the hardest metal is hard to thigh and has strong dielectric property, which cause resistive heating on the contact, heating lugs and insulation over their tolerance and loosing those even more.
It’s a vicious circle, but it had been solve with Nu-Al alloy and alike.
But the biggest problem is that the tradesman never took the time to use the proper installation technique and keep on installing it the same way as copper one.
This is the true story behind aluminum.
If install properly, it’s as safe as copper and with more advantage than adverse effect as all the aluminum power transmission can testify for century.

No, I’m not talking about that obvious issue.

Not sure what country you are from but in the states there were 2 different alloys of aluminum used over the years.

Its your choice whether you believe the issue I talked about was a problem in the states.

Aluminum was not used in the states for transmission lines 100 years ago to any great extent.

Aluminum also
work hardens much quicker than copper so can rarely be used by a flexible cable since it will become brittle and break.

It also is not recommended for temporarily overloaded wiring, such as high-starting-current motor types.

I’m working in Québec and the aluminum building wire has been briefly allowed between 1970 an 1973, and then after evident number of installation failure that was related to improper installation technique, it was ban.
It was then allow again with AWG#8 gauge and thicker with the mandatory use of anti oxidizing compound.
As using aluminum for carrying power line I think it date back a long time ago, I would believe since the end of the last century, but I don’t have any link.
Nual is a proprietary alloy, but it’s also known as Stabiloy.
I pretty sure all north America use the same kind.

Need more information on that.
And it’s better to compare apple to apple.
Mixing metric just confuse thing.
Natural gas is compressed at different pressure and can be liquefied with different energy density per volume.
You need 5 times more volume with compressed natural gas to put the same energy of diesel fuel but only 1,7 more volume when liquefied to have the same energy content.
Other factors come in with the efficiency of the combustion process in the motor, but if we assume a similar efficiency, then we can put a TCO for that part.
It’s good to know that the 25% CO² reduction of gas isn’t it’s best feature, because if you burn methane you also relieve the atmosphere of it and reduce by 25 folds its impact on climate change.
Moreover, you cut the deadly Nox, (remember diesel gate) and fine particulate matter that are such a health hazard.
If you process methane from landfill and any waste by product you score big time against climate change.
It’s then a 85% reduction of climate change inducing gas.
This is the best way to use it

“Whether the CNG-PHEV plug-in truck will attract fleet managers or not depends mainly on prices of such vehicles, which wasn’t mentioned.”

Only state fleet managers…

Private business will look into TCO.

Cool. I hope they sell many of them.