Ashwoods Automotive – Company Overview
Ashwoods Automotive is one of the best known players in the field of low emission technology for commercial vehicles. Over recent years the company has sold over 300 commercial vehicles to our Private and Public Sector fleet customers, all of these vehicles were converted to LPG at the company’s installation centre near Bridgwater in Somerset. Our customers benefit from the fuel, tax and congestion charge savings associated with this greener fuel, not to mention the ongoing after sales service provided through our network of LPGA approved garages nationwide.
We focus on developing the latest CO2 saving technologies, making them more affordable and bringing them to market with our manufacturer partners. On that note, we are pleased to introduce our latest development: the Ashwoods Hybrid Drive. We originally developed and emissions tested the system on the popular diesel Ford Transit and are currently working with several other manufacturers developing hybrid versions of their models.
Overview of the Ashwoods Hybrid Drive
The Ashwoods Hybrid Drive is the result of 3 years of research and development and is now a production ready product for the Ford Transit RWD (Diesel). The basic concept of the Hybrid Drive is to capture energy that would normally be dissipated as heat during over-run and braking on vehicles and reuse it to assist the engine.
This assistance means that less work is required from the engine; therefore it uses less fuel and produces less CO2.
In this case, the kinetic energy that is normally converted to heat during braking, is captured and stored in a battery. We use the latest C-LIFEPO 4 technology, which allows us to store the energy in a battery 1/3 of the weight of a conventional Lead Acid battery. The energy stored in the battery is then reused to assist the vehicle when the engine is at its least efficient. This is achieved by our bespoke vehicle interface system through an electric motor, which is attached by a pulley to the rear differential. The motor assists in turning the drive shaft and so the engine does not need to work as hard decreasing fuel consumption and co2 emissions.
Integration of Hybrid Drive with host vehicle
Ashwoods acknowledge that the integration of 3rd party systems is generally the single biggest hurdle for any manufacturer or customer to overcome in order to endorse products such as the Ashwoods Hybrid Drive. Typical concerns include residual value, warranty and reliability concerns.
However, we have taken on board the advice and concerns of both our host vehicle manufacturers and end customers. We have used what we have learnt from the LPG market to develop the Hybrid Drive. Although fuel and emissions savings are of upmost importance, we acknowledge that manufacturer uptake and product scalability will not be achieved without a widely acceptable method of integration. The following points outline the Ashwoods approach to vehicle integration with the Hybrid Drive:
- Hybrid integration requires no unauthorised modifications of the vehicle or its components
- The kit is made up of 2 core components: a) the electric motor and b) the Intelligent Power Pack Module (IPPM)
- The kit is attached using only existing holes fixings
- No holes are drilled or wires cut during installation
- The bonnet is not opened during installation
- The Hybrid Drive receives data via the vehicle’s CAN-bus at low priority, receive only.
- The Driver can see when the system is charging and assisting through the Driver Display
- The Driver Display includes a gear shift indicator to enable the drive to change earlier due to additional torque provided by the system
- Installation can be completed in less than 4 hours
- The system can be moved from vehicle to vehicle quickly and easily.
- The residual value of the vehicle will be unaffected
- The host vehicle warranty remains unaffected
- The Hybrid Drive comes with a 3 year/100,000 warranty
Fitting, Servicing and Maintenance Requirements
Another key consideration in the development of the Hybrid Drive was simplicity of servicing, maintenance, fault diagnosis and resolution and ultimately the minimising of ‘downtime’ for the customer. Even in the event of hybrid system failure, the vehicle will immediately revert to its standard power source until the problem is resolved.
The Ashwoods Hybrid Drive is made up of 2 major components: the electric motor and the Intelligent Power Pack Module (IPPM).
The IPPM contains the brains of the Hybrid Drive system. It is a watertight and tamperproof sealed enclosure. The enclosure is designed in a way that only Ashwoods technicians can gain access to the components contained within, we adopted this approach to ensure we take full control and liability for the IPPM and its more complex components. No manufacturer or end customer will be required to access the IPPM. In the case of component failure, the whole IPPM unit can be quickly removed, replaced and returned to Ashwoods.
All maintenance, servicing and faults will be isolated to either of the 2 components. There is no requirement for the vehicle manufacturer or customer to undergo any significant training to meet the installation, service or maintenance requirements of the system. Any faults are rectified by system replacement, which can be completed but unskilled labour in less than 1 hour, with faulty components returned to Ashwoods.
End of Warranty – ‘2nd life’
At the end of the 3 year/100,000 mile warranty the Ashwoods Hybrid Drive can, if required, be given ‘2nd life’ for under £400. Ashwoods will provide a full service and battery diagnostic, the motor will be refurbished and the underperforming cells within the LifePO4 Power Pack will be replaced.
Following the refurbishment the system will be granted a 2nd and final 3 year/100,000 mile warranty. This will enable the customer to move a warrantied system from one vehicle to another with ease, this is particularly appropriate for customers who rent vehicles on 3 year contract hire deals.
Ashwoods Hybrid Drive co2 savings
Ashwoods are the first company to provide proven emissions data on a hybrid system. We have achieved 14.2% co2 reductions at approved testing facilities on the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), this is coupled with significant Nox and Particulates reductions.
The NEDC is regarded as an overly prudent benchmark for emissions testing, in the ‘real world’ we expect savings to be anywhere between 20% and 25% depending on the vehicle drive cycle.
The NEDC contains only a small number of smooth and predictable acceleration events and therefore makes the vehicles as efficient as possible. In the real World, acceleration events are more regular, more aggressive and less predictable, thus making the vehicle less efficient, which gives our system considerably more opportunities to make emission/fuel gains.
Ashwoods are committed to our strategic Public and Private Sector market roll-out (see below for more details) in which vehicles will be supplied to a select range of Public and Private sector organisations to trial with integrated data monitoring to assess the fuel/emission savings. These results will then be published.
Awards and Accreditations
- Selected as sole low carbon vehicle partner for the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP)
- 2008 Green Fleet Award for Industry Innovation
Ashwoods have been selected as the sole partner to the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP) in the Low Carbon Van Category. The LCVPP is a Department for Transport run £70 million procurement programme aimed to accelerate the take up of low emission technologies in the LCV market, through volume vehicle procurement for Public Sector fleets. As the sole partner, Ashwoods could expect sales in the thousands per year to Public sector companies.
Ashwoods expect to release our first batch of LCVPP trial vehicles into Phase 1 of the programme in Q1 2010 under strict servicing and maintenance framework commitments for the trial period. We have taken the requirements of LCVPP trial period and extended them to our Private Sector roll-out strategy as outlined below.
2010 Ashwoods Hybrid Transit Availability
Due to strong market demand, Ashwoods are pleased to announce that will be offering a limited run of 150 Ashwoods Hybrid Transits in 2010, these will compliment the 100 vehicles being supplied through the LCVPP to leading Public Sector organisations. The vehicles will be sold on a first come, first serve basis, deliveries will start in Q1 2010. Interested parties are permitted to purchase up to 10 vehicles. Ashwoods will make retro fit hybrid technology available to participating companies and their fleets from the end of 2010. Prices for the Ashwoods Hybrid Transit start from £24,819 + VAT + RFL for an Ashwoods Hybrid Transit 330 SWB Low Roof. All standard Ford options are available and delivery times are 10-12 weeks.
For information on how to order, please contact Martin Kadhim at Ashwoods on 0845 641 0716 or firstname.lastname@example.org You can also contact Malcolm Noyle (07515 529075) or Steve Pinchen (07976 397 752) at Noyle Fleet Solutions (email@example.com), our dedicated Ashwoods Hybrid Transit Procurement Partner.