New concept electric truck and bus platform enters testing programme
A revolutionary range extended electric truck and bus chassis from a new to the industry business begins its testing programme in the UK this month before being readied for commercial operations.
The company involved, Charge R&D Ltd, has substantial financial backing from Kinetik, a new $500 million international investment company. Charge, headquartered in Enstone, Oxfordshire, UK, is developing electric powertrains for commercial vehicles and its platform offers game-changing driveline and vehicle solutions.
It has two unique propositions that give it an edge over other solutions: cost and scalability. First, Charge’s product is expected to come to market at a price comparable to a conventional carbon fuel solution (excluding the battery cost); and secondly, it is designed to work in vehicles from 2.5 to 26 tonnes.
Combined, these features will form an important part of Charge’s strategy to move the commercial vehicles market towards EV technology.
Charge employs 40 engineers under the direction of Glenn Saint in his role as Technical Director. Mr Saint was formerly part of the senior management of Optare Group, a UK commercial vehicle manufacturer specialising in the development of electric buses. A dedicated software development team is also creating advanced systems which will deliver a highly ‘connected’ vehicle that enhances the experience of both the operator and driver.
Charge R&D will provide innovative driveline solutions with the objective of reducing carbon fuel usage by a factor of three or more compared to current conventional commercial vehicle designs. By designing products at the right price point but with significant low carbon advantages and hence commercial fuel savings, Charge will encourage significant adoption of low emissions solutions.
Mr Saint commented: “We believe there is a real opportunity for a low emission truck and bus range extended electric platform which is a revolutionary departure from current chassis design in layout and low weight, with a high degree of zero emissions capability. It will be financially attractive to operate without external incentives while offering users advanced features new to the commercial vehicle sector”.
The prototype, now entering the track-testing phase of its development programme, is a proof of performance engineering demonstration truck. Charge is committed to selling the technology it incorporates to both truck and bus makers for them to build into their own products.
Mr Saint confirmed that a number of manufacturers and investors from Europe and Asia had expressed their interest in the Charge technology. Some are already working together with Charge to introduce potential product offerings, including positioning, design and routes to industrialize the electric driveline solutions.