Friday, April 8, 2011

Green Overdrive: Wrightspeed Digital Drive System [video]

Green Overdrive caught up with Ian Wright, founder of Wrightspeed, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his new factory, where he shows Katie a mock up of the company’s digital drive system that will be used to build hybrid electric truck retro fit kits.

We speculated back in August 2010 that Wright may be sourcing parts of his power train system from a UK company called Evo Electric. Instead of going for Axial Flux motors, Wright intends to use a much more conventional motor configuration for his technology demonstrator, which he says will be running by Sept 2011, using a pair of geared motors that more closely resemble the one found in the back of a Tesla Roadster.

The interview poses almost as many questions as it answers. The electric motors, according to Wright, will have "four times the power density" compared to motors shipped today. This was the hint that seemed to suggest Axial Flux motors were part of the plan. Instead, the motor shown on the bench looks to be approx the same dimensions as those manufactured by Tesla, with approx the same power output (250 hp) so we wonder what is he talking about?

The truck 'kit' will feature 2 stage gear reduction. A typical single speed reduction gearbox will be attached to the motor plus what Wright says will be a second reduction gear set to provide the kind of torque needed for truck use. The second gear set will be mounted in the hub with the two gearboxes connected by a drive shaft. The appropriate gear ratio won't fit inside a single gearbox?

The 1000 hp AWD supercar based on this powertrain, that Wright claims to already have a customer signed up for, will not see the light of day for "a couple of years".