The California Energy Commission announced yesterday that Silicon Valley startup Wrightspeed will receive a $5.789 million grant as part of the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. Grants also went to Zero Motorcycles and Tesla Motors. Wrightspeed will use the funds to accelerate manufacturing of its Route retrofit powertrain for the medium-duty commercial fleet market.
Wrightspeed made its first kit for the Isuzu NPR, which gets about 12 mpg with its conventional diesel powertrain. Using the Route Range-extended Electric Vehicle powertrain, Wrightspeed measured 25-40 miles per gallon. The company claims that customers will see a 3-5 year return on investment, and that Route-retrofitted trucks will meet fleet operators’ expectations for payload, power, and range.
Wrightspeed has raised $10 million in private investments. Since opening its San Jose facility in 2011, the company has built and tested a 250-hp, two-speed Geared Traction Drive, a 200-kW inverter, battery pack and management system, and a vehicle dynamics control system.