Video: Wrightspeed Turbine Electric Truck

Wrightspeed is a Silicon Valley, start-up company that manufactures powertrains.  “We make things go, and we like doing well,” the company states.

According to Wrightspeeds site, “We like to make things go, and we like doing it well. Built on a tradition of quality systems engineering, Wrightspeed’s powertrains are the next step in the evolution of vehicle propulsion. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Wrightspeed’s engineering team has particular strengths in control systems, high-reliability software, and high-power analog electronics. Wrightspeed holds most of the IP for its powertrains, including patented-pending controls, 200 kW inverter, 41 kg 250 hp electric motor, two speed gear box with clutch-less shifting, battery pack, battery management system, and LCD user interface.”– Consider the company the Tesla of the commercial vehicle world.

Wrightspeed has a product called the Route– a “plug and play repower kit for medium duty fleet trucks that maximizes efficiency without compromising performance.”

The company’s website says the Route uses electric drive that can be plugged in and has no range limitations.

Here’s how it works: “the Route™ turbine generator charges batteries, as needed, on the road and can run on liquid or gaseous fuel.”

Wrightspeed’s first major customer of its turbine-electronic engine is FedEx.  The company’s product, the Route, will replace some of the fleet’s diesel engines, transmissions and replace with with a fuel efficient powertrain.

“We tend to think of pure battery electric vehicles as the cleanest vehicle technology available, and that used to be true,” says marketing manager, Maya Giannini. “However, our onboard generator burns cleaner per kWh than the average mix of US electric power plants, making Wrightspeed’s products cleaner than an EV.”

Wrighspeed says their system can save TWENTY TIMES more fuel than a 100mpg car! The company’s CEO and founder, Ian Wright, said that commercial electric vehicles make more sense than electronic passenger cars, because with the fuel savings for fleets are worth the cost of the technology.

“For electric drive to make economic sense, you have to displace enough fuel to pay for the technology,” says founder and CEO, Ian Wright. “That pretty much rules out passenger cars, because they don’t burn enough fuel. Medium-duty trucks on commercial routes burn thousands of gallons of fuel annually.”

Wrightspeed fitted an Isuzu NPR with the Route power train system and found that without the Route, the truck averaged 12 mpg– once the truck was retrofitted, it averaged 44 mpg– a 300% improvement!

“The measured miles per gallon will vary widely with drive cycle. We are modest in our calculations, because fleet operators are looking for a new technology they can trust to reduce their bottom line.” says Wrightspeed’s marketing manager, Maya Giannini. “They carefully track their fuel usage, and inflated efficiency numbers do nothing to further their trust in the clean tech industry.”

From Wrightspeed:

Fuel Management

  • The Wrightspeed Route provides impressive improvements in fuel economy.
  • The Route can displace a lot of fuel without range limitations.
  • The Route allows a significant part of daily mileage to be driven on inexpensive grid energy.
  • The Route can burn diesel, CNG, LNG, or landfill gases.
  • Depending on drive cycles, fuel use can drop 50% or more.

High Power

  • The Route is extremely high-power.
  • 400 hp regenerative braking
  • 11,000 ft/lbs torque
  • 200 hp drive power *software limited for efficiency

Unlimited Range

  • A microturbine generator keeps the Route going all day on diesel, CNG, LNG, or landfill gases.
  • Turbines offer great power-to-weight ratios.
  • The simple turbine architecture makes it extremely durable and easy to maintain.
  • Airlines and powerstations also use turbines for their efficiency and durability.
  • The Route onboard turbine powerstation only operates at its peak efficiency, charging the batteries as needed.

Video Credit: WrightspeedOfficial·

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