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Electric Powertrain Company ALTe Forms Joint Venture For Storage

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ALTe Powertrain Technologies, the Auburn Hills developer of a range-extended electric powertrain, last week signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Plymouth-based Inmatech Inc., a developer of advanced supercapacitors, to produce and sell hybrid electric storage devices composed of batteries, supercapacitors and control electronics.

The companies say a blend of supercapacitors with lithium ion battery cells will enable longer life for the battery cells while reducing cost by as much as 40 percent for an equivalent size battery composed exclusively of lithium ion cells.

The applications will range from automotive batteries to stationary grid power leveling devices.

The companies say that by combining key competencies of both companies, the joint venture will enable quick market penetration with a leading performance product at significantly reduced cost, providing robust technology in ALTe’s plug-in hybrid electric powertrain kits while allowing the joint venture to provide devices to the automotive and grid infrastructure markets.

To assist in bringing the HEV devices to market, ALTe and Inmatech have submitted grant applications through various federal funding agencies including the Department of Energy. Initial feedback has been very positive and the projects are now being evaluated by government technical specialist teams. Should the grants receive final approval, the joint venture will be able to accelerate product development and production operations to facilitate sales in early 2014.

ALTe founder, chairman and CEO John D. Thomas says the joint venture will allow the companies “to provide the best battery solution for our customers while opening new opportunities to expand our business to further supply the automotive industry’s growing need for advanced electric powertrain equipment. We view this initial response from the Department of Energy as an important testament to the potential of this relationship and the value of the technology we are developing.” he said.

Stefan Heinemann, president & CEO of Inmatech, said the joint venture “will accelerate our plans to bring this novel material based supercapacitor to market, offering dramatic cost savings to the industry with very high energy density.”

ALTe’s Range Extended Electric Powertrain will replace standard V-8 engines, retrofitting into existing fleet vehicles as well as in “glider” applications of new vehicles to increase their fuel economy by up to 200 percent and lower emissions. Most recently, ALTe announced a partnership with Manheim, the world’s leading automotive reselling service, to create installation centers for fleet conversions across the country. 

The company will be announcing its first fleet customers in the coming months, and ALTe’s electric powertrain system will be installed in commercial and government fleets beginning next year.

ALTe is the developer of a Range Extended Electric Powertrain used to repower light commercial vehicles up to 26,000 GVW. The system will retrofit into existing fleet vehicles as well as in “glider” applications of new vehicles to dramatically increase their fuel economy and lower emissions. Designed to replace a base V-8 internal combustion engine powertrain, the system’s patented technology improves fuel economy from 80 to 200 More at www.altellc.com.

Inmatech is a joint venture of Germany’s Fraunhofer and the University of Michigan to commercialize next generation supercapacitors and systems based on nanostructured materials developed and patented by the University of Michigan.

More at www.altellc.com

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