If Elon Musk is going to build an electric pickup truck, he better get busy. Two US companies — Bollinger and Workhorse — say they have an all-electric truck/SUV coming to market soon, and XL Hybrids will have plug-in hybrid conversions for pickups on the road soon. Light-duty trucks and SUVs now make up over half of the US new car market, which makes any options that lower the carbon emissions they produce welcome news for the environment.
Workhorse and XL Hybrids vehicles are being marketed primarily to fleet customers such as delivery and utility companies, not as feelgood devices for treehuggers but as vehicles that will cost less in the long run through reduced fuel and maintenance costs. Nothing gladdens the heart of a fleet manager more than saving money.
Bollinger Motors, located in New York, revealed images this week of the chassis structure for its electric on- and off-road sport utility truck. The chassis is made from aluminum chassis and weighs only 295 pounds. It incorporates a high-strength-steel rollover structure. Designed for optimal off road operation, it has a wheelbase of 105 inches and a track of 68 inches. The approach angle is 56 degrees, the departure angle is 53 degrees, and the breakover angle is given as 33 degrees.
The Bollinger chassis has a ride height of 15.5 inches but will be adjustable using a self-leveling, fully independent, hydro-pneumatic suspension with 10 inches of wheel travel. The A-arms are made of high-strength steel and are attached to the frame using durable polyurethane bushings. Good news for off-roaders includes anti-roll bars that can be disconnected to allow traction-enhancing, full-suspension articulation.
“We utilized the area between the chassis rails, below the driver and passenger, to house our battery storage system and located the high voltage electronics in the center of the chassis below the floor level. This gives the vehicle a very low center of gravity which makes for unmatched on and off-road stability,” said Karl Hacken, Bollinger Motors’ Chief Engineer. “We also designed the hydraulically assisted steering rack in-house to allow us to fine tune the driving dynamics to our exact specifications.”
“This chassis will be the foundation for our advanced all-wheel-drive system and our all electric powertrain which will combine to produce best in class horsepower, torque and ground clearance,” said Robert Bollinger, the company’s founder and CEO. “We are pushing the truck category forward and have improved on what is currently available in the marketplace today to make a world-class vehicle that can go anywhere and do anything.”
XL Hybrids this week announced a partnership with Knapheide Manufacturing Company, a US-based commercial vehicle equipment provider. Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2017, Knapheide will become a ship-thru installer of XL Hybrids’ XLP™ plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) upfits on Ford half-ton pickup trucks. Ford will ship the trucks to Knapheide’s Kansas City facility. Knapheide will then install the XL Hybrids powertrain and ship the modified trucks on to customers.
“The ease of integration of XL Hybrids’ technology onto Ford vehicles, combined with the fact that our installation follows all Ford eQVM guidelines integrating with the intact Ford powertrain, contributed to XL Hybrids getting Ford’s ‘eQVM’ designation,” said Chris Weiss, vice president of engineering for Knapheide. “We look forward to working with XL Hybrids to market and deploy both their HEV and PHEV products to our fleet customers, resulting in real vehicle lifecycle cost-reduction from fuel and maintenance savings.”
Both XL Hybrids and Knapheide were recently recognized within Ford’s new “eQVM” program, which is a vehicle electrification version of its long-standing Qualified Vehicle Modifier program. XL Hybrids was the first to be awarded the Ford eQVM supplier status, while Knapheide was the program’s first-ever eQVM installer.
“XL Hybrids’ XLP system is the first Fleet-Ready™ plug-in hybrid electric technology designed specifically to meet the operational requirements of fleets, as well as deliver a solid financial return,” said Clay Siegert, co-founder and chief operating officer. “Plus, our cloud-based data analytics system, XL Link™, provides fleets with an unparalleled ability to measure key performance indicators and receive an analytics summary of millions of vehicle operational data points per vehicle.”
The XLP technology will be installed in MY17 and MY18 Ford F-150 pickups. XLP will be compatible with a range of wheelbasesas well as cab and bed configurations. Installation of the XLP PHEV system can be completed in just hours on F-150 pickup trucks as a ship-thru upfit. The XLP technology leaves the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) engine, transmission, fuel system, and exhaust system completely intact. Fleets will maintain the complete OEM warranty, and get a three-year, 75,000 mile warranty from XL Hybrids on the XLP powertrain.
“Knapheide has performed XL Hybrids system installations on a range of Class 2 vans and Class 3 and 4 cutaways for major national and municipal fleet customers,” said Bo Knapheide, senior vice president of distributor and fleet operations. “Now that we are adding the capability of performing ship-thru installations of plug-in hybrid electric systems from XL Hybrids, we expect the pace of growth to increase as more and more utility and municipal fleets seek electrification options.”
Source: Bollinger via Electric Cars Report, XL Hybrids via press release and email