Kentucky-based ePower Engine Systems has placed an order with Axion Power International (OTC QB: AXPW) for Axion’s leadcarbon (PbC) batteries and management systems, which will be used to convert ten Class 8 trucks (the largest category of over-the-road trucks) to series diesel hybrids, using ePower’s proprietary technology.
Each conversion kit would require 56 PbC batteries and the PbC battery management system (BMS). Axion values each conversion order at over $20,000. The two companies are negotiating a long-term agreement for Axion to supply PbC batteries and BMS for conversion kits, which ePower will market to fleets, trucking firms and OEMs.
Axion Chairman & CEO Thomas Granville commented, “The heavy trucking industry is a huge and unserved market when it comes to significantly improving miles per gallon of diesel fuel at affordable cost. Diesel fuel is the largest variable cost in trucking, with Class 8 trucks alone consuming more than 19 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually. With the current average mpg for these trucks being in the range of 6, each additional mpg is a huge percentage improvement that translates into proportional fuel dollar savings and emissions reductions. ePower testing to date, with PbC batteries, indicates significant savings immediately, with dramatic savings potential going forward. While our experience in the field is limited, we have not seen another system that even suggests they could bring the positive effect that ePower systems have on mileage enhancement and emissions reduction.”
ePower Chief Technology Officer Jay Bowman said, “Axion Power PbC batteries are ideally suited to our hybridization because of their ability not only to discharge quickly, but also to recharge quickly utilizing regenerative braking and the truck’s own power generation system. Our testing has been going very well, so we felt it important to get this order booked now. The PbC battery’s ability to endure thousands of cycles without the loss of charge acceptance, and its ability to continually self-equalize the state of charge in string applications, are tremendous advantages that clearly distinguish these batteries from their competition. These advantages, and others that the PbC battery brings to the equation, allow our ePower conversion System to achieve a very attractive ROI.”
Bowman also pointed out that PbC batteries are fully recycled more than 99% of the time and have value at the end of their lives, unlike some of the “more exotic types of batteries” used in electric and hybrid vehicles.