Echo Automotive Snags Work Truck Awards, Plus Key Partnerships

Remy, Leggett & Platt, GM all tie up with plug-in, after­mar­ket hybrid start­up

Echo Auto­mo­tive, Inc. capped a flur­ry of announce­ments of part­ner­ships for its EchoDrive — the company’s bolt-on, plug-in hybrid kit — by win­ning the 2014 Green Award  at the recent­ly con­clud­ed Work Truck Show. Last year, Echo won the pres­ti­gious Editor’s Choice Award for new prod­uct inno­va­tion at the 2013 event.

Echo claims that its hybrid sys­tem, which fits between the engine and dri­ve train, can save as much as 50% in fuel con­sump­tion. Some impres­sive names have lined up behind the fledg­ling Scotts­dale, AZ start­up.

Ear­li­er this month, Echo announced an agree­ment with Remy Inter­na­tion­al, the for­mer divi­sion of Gen­er­al Motors. Jason Plotke, Chair­man and Pres­i­dent of Echo, not­ed that Remy has 100,000 trac­tion motors on the road in its ten years of trac­tion motor pro­duc­tion.

“The Echo devel­op­ment team under­stands the demands of their tech­nolo­gies and their uses, and is spec­i­fy­ing proven com­po­nents like our Remy motor that enhance the effi­cien­cy and robust­ness of EchoDrive,” said Jay Pit­tas, Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, Remy, Inc.

Just a day before the Remy agree­ment, Echo revealed that it had signed a dis­tri­b­u­tion and instal­la­tion agree­ment with Leggett & Platt Com­mer­cial Vehi­cle Prod­ucts (CVP), a major auto­mo­tive parts sup­pli­er and upfit­ter.

“Echo has cre­at­ed a non-intru­sive plug-in hybrid sys­tem that can deliv­er hard-dol­lar cost sav­ings for 10 years,” said John For­est, Vice Pres­i­dent of Install Oper­a­tions for Leggett & Platt’s CVP. “The EchoDrive tech­nol­o­gy, and the eco­nom­ic val­ue it offers, is impres­sive – fleets can increase fuel effi­cien­cy by 50%. We are excit­ed to add this plug-in hybrid option to our alter­na­tive fuels port­fo­lio and our ship-thru ser­vices. It is anoth­er pow­er­ful tool to meet the unique needs of our fleet cus­tomers.”

CVP will begin accept­ing orders for the EchoDrive sys­tem lat­er this year, and will offer Echo-cer­ti­fied instal­la­tion of the EchoDrive sys­tem for new vehi­cles begin­ning first quar­ter of 2015.

And in Feb­ru­ary, Echo announced that GM plans to offer after­mar­ket instal­la­tion of the EchoDrive plug-in hybrid to GM’s 2500 and 3500, includ­ing the Chevro­let Express and GMC Savana, for mod­el years 2010–2014. Pro­duc­tion is expect­ed to begin in the first quar­ter of 2015.

The EchoDrive sys­tem includes an advanced bat­tery, elec­tric motor, invert­er and charg­er. The com­po­nents work togeth­er to pro­vide torque assis­tance and recov­er brak­ing ener­gy. Oth­er hybrid sys­tems replace or alter the OEM pow­er­train, but EchoDrive bolts direct­ly to the vehi­cle. Its non-inva­sive, cost-effec­tive design saves fuel with­out affect­ing the orig­i­nal OEM war­ran­ty. A plug-in sys­tem that includes an advanced bat­tery, elec­tric motor, invert­er and charg­er, the com­po­nents work togeth­er to pro­vide torque assis­tance and recov­er brak­ing ener­gy. While oth­er hybrid sys­tems replace or alter the OEM pow­er­train, EchoDrive bolts direct­ly to the vehi­cle.  In addi­tion to reduced fuel con­sump­tion EchoDrive’s stored ener­gy can also be used to pro­vide work-site pow­er for fleet tools and machin­ery.

~Mike Sheldrick, Senior Edi­tor, Fleet Man­age­ment Week­ly

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