Today, ALTe Powertrain Technologies, a Michigan startup created by electric vehicle experts (part of Tesla’s original technical team in Michigan), with a staff and board of seasoned auto industry veterans, is announcing an installer partner to convert fleet trucks to plug in. It’s Manheim, the world’s largest vehicle wholesaler, and the conversions will be available in multiple U.S. locations.

ALTe may be the first company to demonstrate a realistic technical solution and a business case for the “Big Fix” strategy that CalCars, Andy Grove, and others have been promoting. Its Ford F-150 pickup truck becomes a series plug-in hybrid (like the Chevy Volt) — and for sales it’s aiming first at public and private fleet markets. Yesterday, ALTE brought its prototype to Sacramento for demos and drives, attracting a large audiences of legislators and agency officials, including Caltrans, the state’s Department of Transportation, which has a large fleet. Today it’s at Sand HIll Road in Silicon Valley. Following soon after today’s announcement will be news of the first customers — and, we hope, a US Department of Energy loan!

BACKGROUND: WHY WE NEED THIS STRATEGY: Since declaring victory in 2009 on our campaign to put plug-in hybrids on the map, the non-profit has shifted much of our focus to promote safe, affordable, warrantied conversions of large gas-guzzlers to PHEVs and EVs. Why? It’s a spectacular achievement that we’ll soon have a million new plug-in vehicles. BUT, because there are 250 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. and 900 million globally, the percentage of new plug-in vehicles in the total fleet (and the resulting reduction in petroleum use) will remain minimal for 15-20 years. This is a point that San Jose Mercury News reporter Paul Rogers ably made Monday, saying, “However, it will take a decade or more until enough electric vehicles are on the road to make a significant impact [on emissions].”

Of course, we can’t wait decades to address climate change and energy security. That’s why we’re working for the emergence of a new global industry to retrofit millions of existing vehicles long before we see large numbers of new ones. This new industry will need mind-share, flexible regulations and standards — and, for equivalent amounts of petroleum reduction, public incentives at levels similar to those available for new vehicles. For more analysis and information on this strategy, links to previous stories about ALTe, and information about other emerging companies in this industry, see .

TO GET AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHY BATTERIES WORK WELL IN LARGE VEHICLES, and see a roundup of new plug-in trucks, see “Plugging Electric Drivetrains into Trucks” at

More About Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles from The Green Living Guy

The Prius You Can Plug In

Events Rundown: National & California Plus New Global Campaigns by Felix Kramer from

Toyota and New York City will join the company’s U.S. Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle (PHV) demonstration program.  

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