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September 07, 2007

LIMBA - Plug in Hybrid Vehicle Systems from Odyne

Danaandernie Dana DeMeo, Director of Engineering for Odyne came to speak at LIMBA this morning.  Odyne is a Long Island based company, recently gone public,  that develops and manufactures hybrid propulsion systems for vehicles in classes 6, 7, and 8, which are trucks of over 20,000 pounds.  It was great to see a passionate speaker from a company on an exciting path.  Dana explained the manufacturing process for how trucks like garbage trucks, bucket trucks, and  buses get built.  A garbage truck gets built by ordering a chassis from a manufacturer such as Navistar, putting an engine and transmission in, and then going to what's called an upfitter, such as Nassau-Suffolk truck to put the ultimate body on the truck, whether it is a garbage truck, bucket truck, or delivery truck.  Odyne offers truck builders an alternative drivetrain that works with standard assembly procedures.  It gives highway mileage performance to trucks that have local routes with lots of starts and stops.  The most efficient state for any system is called homeostasis, where all inputs and outputs are in balance.  They've developed a system that gets these types of vehicles close to those operating characteristics.  The estimated ROI for building a truck with an Odyne system is 3 to 9 years based on the cost of oil four years ago.  The vehicles charge overnight, and draw power down from the battery banks during their route.  There is an auxiliary engine on the vehicle, but it exists to charge the batteries, and kicks in when the discharging profile of the battery makes it necessary to start putting energy back into them so the vehicle can finish its route.  Even though it is more expensive to use an Odyne system, there are big direct cost savings in operational characteristics, especially in fuel and maintenance costs.  For garbage trucks, the regenerative braking system, reduces wear dramatically, and makes the trucks tremendously quieter.  The pollution profiles of Odyne equipped vehicles are also super low.  The engine that charges the batteries can be a traditional gas engine, or it can be a CNG or other alternative fuel burning motor.  The engine only exists to provide electrical power.  Another friday morning well spent at LIMBA, with a dynamic speaker from a young Long Island based manufacturing company, remarkable.


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