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Motiv planning new battery controller for EPIC chassis

May 1, 2018
"Revolutionary" technology will lower cost, increase payload, streamline build process, company says

Motiv Power Systems plans to produce new technology for monitoring and controlling multiple independent battery packs called Adaptive Battery Controller (ABC).

The ABC represents a step forward in controlling the batteries of Motiv’s Electric Powered Intelligent Chassis (EPIC) family of chassis for trucks and buses, the company said, reducing the control hardware’s footprint to 10 percent of its previous size and weight.

“Motiv’s goal with the EPIC was to create a simple, reliable and cost-effective all-electric chassis capable of meeting the varying needs of medium-duty fleet operators while streamlining the build process,” said Jim Castelaz, founder and CEO of Motiv Power Systems. “The ABC is a key ingredient in realizing that vision.”

One of the hurdles facing adoption of electric zero-emissions vehicles in the commercial-fleet market is up-front cost, followed by limited payload/range. This is because most electric commercial vehicles use low-volume, custom battery packs that are twice as expensive per kilowatt-hour in comparison with the high-volume battery packs typically found in passenger cars.

Together, the batteries and their respective controllers, represent the biggest cost center in vehicle builds and also negatively impact the finished vehicle’s payload capacity and range.

In an effort to drive down costs and increase payload and range, Motiv’s EPIC chassis takes advantage of the significant cost savings afforded by installing passenger car batteries that are produced at scale and, with an ABC on board, the capability of simultaneously controlling multiple battery packs through a single piece of hardware.

The new ABC also streamlines the body fitting by freeing up space outside of the chassis frame rails, providing more space and flexibility for body builders.

“Unlike our legacy technology, which required an extra box per battery and took up a lot of room on the chassis frame rails, the ABC is essentially an intelligent battery junction box for up to six batteries,” Castelaz said. “As a single, discrete piece of hardware, the ABC really is a game-changer and is a pioneering piece of technology for the commercial fleet market. No one else has anything like it.”

Motiv recently became the first all-electric chassis supplier to receive CARB certification.

Motiv’s EPIC all-electric chassis already is in use in Fortune 50 fleet deployments nationwide, having logged more than 350,000 miles on the road.