SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Energy Commission announced yesterday that Silicon Valley startup Wrightspeed will receive a $5.789 million grant for Advanced Vehicle Technology Manufacturing. The grant is part of the CEC's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
Wrightspeed received the highest application score of the applicants. The scoring criteria were: project feasibility, project budget, match funding, economic benefit, qualifications of project team, and market development. All four awardees received the amounts they requested, including Zero Motorcycles and Tesla Motors.
The grant funds will accelerate manufacturing of Wrightspeed's Route™ retrofit powertrain for the surprisingly large medium duty commercial fleet market, which boasts 2 million trucks in the US alone. The manufacturing and testing jobs created within Wrightspeed will be permanent positions and the grant will indirectly catalyze hundreds of California jobs, through suppliers and the end users of the Route™, whose fuel costs will be significantly reduced, ultimately leading to a better hiring climate.
Wrightspeed made its first kit for the Isuzu NPR. With its conventional diesel powertrain, the NPR averaged about 12 miles per gallon in testing with a metro drive cycle. With the Route™ Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) powertrain, under the same test conditions, Wrightspeed measured 25-40 miles per gallon (on a cost equivalent basis, drive cycle-dependent).
During 2010 and 2011, Wrightspeed raised $10 million in private investments, some of which was used as matching funds for the company's prior CEC grant for $1.2 million. Since cutting the ribbon on their San Jose facility April 7th, 2011, Wrightspeed has built and tested an impressive amount of IP, including their 250 horsepower 2-speed Geared Traction Drive (GTD) with clutchless electronic shifting (an industry first), 200 kW inverter, battery pack and management system, and patent-pending vehicle dynamics control system.
Wrightspeed has proven their technology in several engineering prototypes that will now go out for customer validation and testing. While continuing to meet payload, power, and range expectations of fleet operators, the Route™ offers a 3-5 year return on investment unparalleled by competing electric drive and hybrid technologies.
For more information, please go to www.wrightspeed.com