XL Hybrids (XLH) has developed what it calls a hybrid conversion kit. The process involves installing an electric motor, lithium-ion battery, braking energy recovery system and control software into existing vehicles, transforming them into a hybrid. The kits XL Hybrids has developed so far are designed to retrofit three Ford models that are commonly used as fleet vehicles: Lincoln’s Towncar, Ford’s Crown Victoria, and the Ford E-series vans.
The kit works alongside the existing drive line and doesn’t require any alterations to stock components in the installation process. This allows the company to convert existing vehicles as well as any new vehicles a fleet company might be about to purchase. According to the XLH, buyers can expect a 15-30% reduction in fuel costs. They also point to a faster ROI due to the lower cost of purchasing their retro-fit kit versus a production hybrid vehicle.
Currently, the company is only able to perform the installation at their service center location and is limited to the three Ford Motors vehicles but, in an interview with Autobloggreen, XL Hyrbids co-founder Justin Ashton indicates that plans are in the works to expand their technology: “We’re engineering the hybrid system for Ford E-Series vans to be released into customer pilot testing later this year (then one for GM van models in 2012). The van product is designed for shuttle, delivery, and service van applications and is really the big opportunity for us, both in terms of market size, and in terms of potential environmental impact from reducing total gallons of fuel used in fleets. As you know, turnover can be painfully slow (measured in decades). That’s why we offer both a retrofit hybrid system for existing vehicles as well as an upfit option for new vehicles as fleet buyers spec them out.”
XL Hybrids appears to be in talks with dealers, fleet maintenance/service/,management companies and experienced vehicle modifiers in an effort to deploy their technology on a national level. The company states in a recent blog post that they are “on track for a nationwide rollout in the 2nd half of 2011”
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