ALTe Powertrain and Inmatech form JV for hybrid electric storage devices; Li-ion cells, supercaps, and control electronics

ALTe Powertrain Technologies, the developer of a Range Extended Electric Powertrain used to repower light commercial vehicles up to 26,000 GVW (earlier post), has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to form a joint venture with Inmatech, Inc., a spin-off from the University of Michigan and developer of advanced asymmetric supercapacitors, to produce and sell hybrid electric storage (HES) devices comprising Li-ion batteries, supercapacitors and control electronics.

The blend of supercapacitors with lithium ion battery cells will enable longer life for the battery cells while reducing cost by as much as 40% for an equivalent size battery composed exclusively of lithium ion cells. The applications will range from automotive batteries to stationary grid power leveling devices.

By combining their respective key competencies of both companies, the partners say 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 HES 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. The partners say the 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 JV will be able to accelerate product development and production operations to facilitate sales in early 2014.

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% 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. (Earlier post.)

The company says it 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.

Inmatech was established by 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. Inmatech supercapacitors are based on early transition metal carbides and nitrides.

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