Balance-Plus electrifies shuttle bus market
The fuel-efficient hybrid from Azure Dynamics comes with plug-in option
Azure Dynamics Corporation, Detroit, MI, a producer of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles, developed its Balance™ Hybrid Electric drive system for Ford E450 as the Balance-Plus. It features a commercial stripped or cutaway chassis with a modified drivetrain and modified electronic controls system.
The Balance™ Hybrid Electric drive system manages the conventional 5.4-litre Triton gasoline engine and the five-speed automatic TorqShift transmission, which Azure Dynamics says produces a cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicle for business needs. The hybrid features electric-launch assist, engine-off at idle and regenerative braking which combine to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The traction motor propels the vehicle in parallel with the conventional engine and automatic transmission, assisting acceleration and capturing energy during regenerative braking. Energy is stored in the energy storage system (ESS) that features liquid cooled high voltage Li-Ion battery pack and the internal sensors and a controller.
Speed and torque outputs depend on accelerator input as well as vehicle operating conditions. When the vehicle comes to a stop the engine will typically shut off to save fuel while maintaining the power assist function, A/C compressor, interior heat and 12-volt charging systems.
The drive system also features an integrated starter generator (ISG) mounted to the front of the engine that provides quick engine re-starts when the vehicle accelerates from a stop. It also generates power to charge the ESS and operates the front engine Accessory Drive (FEAD) when de-clutched from the engine.
Azure Dynamics says it is not necessary to plug the self-contained high voltage system into an external power source to recharge. However, the Balance hybrid architecture can charge from the electrical grid through a charging port capable of 120-volt (level 1) or 208/240 (level 2) AC charging.
Azure Dynamics says it is strategically targeting the commercial delivery vehicle and shuttle bus markets to provide its customers and partners with innovative, cost efficient and environmentally friendly energy management vehicles.