As we covered in our weekly Green Overdrive show, startup Wrightspeed held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week, opening up its first factory space, and showing off its digital drive system retrofit kits. Founded by Ian Wright, who was also a co-founder of electric car company Tesla (s TSLA), Wrightspeed is seeking to build extended-range electric trucks to replace medium duty company fleets, both by selling retrofit kits to companies and also by working with automakers.
The target is to replace the everyday trucks that are driving around your city, idling outside stores, carrying heavy loads and inefficiently burning up fuel. Wrightspeed’s tech replaces a conventional internal combustion engine with a generator, battery pack (lithium ion), twin motors and electric modules. The result is a vehicle that is twice as efficient but with equal performance to the standard.
T. Boone Pickens, who I interviewed earlier this week, has been calling for big rigs and medium trucks to move over to compressed natural gas. Wright tells me extended range trucks beat natural gas on efficiency and price.
Here’s my photos of the event and the technology: