Ener1 Lithium-ion Battery System & Th!nk Electric Drivetrain Selected For Japan Postal Service EV Conversion Program
A new, fully integrated electric drivetrain developed by Th!nk, and powered by a lithium-ion battery system made by EnerDel (subsidiary of Ener1, Inc., has been delivered to Japan Post via Zero Sports. Zero Sports of Japan has been selected by Japan Post as one of the conversion partners for delivering vehicles as part of a comprehensive on-road testing program which has been fast-tracked by the Japan Postal Service to electrify their fleet of 22,000 delivery vehicles. With the support of strategic partner ITOCHU Corp., who organized this project, EnerDel provided engineering support on the delivery of the first two postal service vehicles to Japan Post via Zero Sports.
The drivetrain is being used to convert a gasoline -powered truck to run entirely on electric drive. The real -life data will be shared with other major users and potential customers of electric vehicles, including other postal fleets in Europe and the Americas.
Initially developed for the Th!nk City electric car, the complete system is said to be the first of its kind to provide off-the-shelf availability combined with made-to-order performance in a wide variety of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric vehicle (EV) applications.
"The ability to deliver a fully integrated, road-ready package that can be quickly tailored to suit a wide range of vehicle solutions is a major step forward for both of our companies," said Ener1 Chairman and CEO Charles Gassenheimer. "By significantly reducing time-to-market for our customers and meeting accelerated production milestones has opened up avenues of opportunity in exciting new programs. We are happy to be able to announce one such program today."
The new technology platform being utilized for this program unites Think’s EV drive system with EnerDel’s lithium-ion battery technology. A spin-out of Ford Motor Company in 2003, Think Global has more than 18 years’ experience in producing environmentally friendly vehicles. The two companies began an active partnership in 2007, with EnerDel developing a 26-kWh battery system for the Th!nk City vehicle, the first pure electric vehicle of its kind to use the next-generation technology.
"We have seen growing interest in supplying Think’s proprietary EV drive system to third parties, a significant new business line and revenue opportunity," said Think Global CEO Richard Canny. "Our long standing relationship with EnerDel has culminated in one of the most advanced battery electric drive train systems in the world, producing reliable, high performance systems, which are both cost-effective and highly adaptable."
The Japan Postal Service is currently converting 25% of its fleet of combustion engine vehicles to electric drive as part of a government push to accelerate market adoption and infrastructure development for electric drive vehicles. It is anticipated that federal fleets across the world will be soon to follow their example. Initially they will develop a fleet of pure electric vehicles for testing in general business and sales use in the Kanagawa and Tokyo Prefectures, where the two conversion vehicles are currently undergoing on-road testing.