One company says it has a heavy-duty truck electrification solution that allows truck owners to replace their existing diesel powertrains with electric.
Trova Commercial Vehicles said it is developing a unique diesel-to-electric driveline-conversion program for existing Class 7 and 8 diesel trucks, using what is essentially the reverse of a glider kit approach.
“Over the past year, we’ve developed our rolling chassis as a ‘skateboard’ solution for converting existing heavy-duty trucks to electric power at a much lower cost than buying a new EV,” says Patrick Collignon, TrovaCV founder and CEO. “Our D2E package combines the latest electric driveline technology with a completely new chassis thoughtfully designed from the ground up specifically for EV components. Also, our conversion process is being engineered to deliver rapid volume production, rather than the slow build of a typical mom-and-pop converter.”
Each conversion will ride on TrovaCV’s new proprietary rolling chassis, which is purpose-built to accommodate battery-electric driveline components. It allows the truck’s battery packs to be packaged within the chassis rails. Central mounting increases battery-pack durability compared to side-rail mounting, helps improve vehicle stability, and increases the safety of the batteries and vehicle in major side-impact crashes, according to the company.
TrovaCV D2E conversions will be “industrialized” in a factory-type setting to ensure quality production and short lead times. Prior to the arrival of the original truck, the new rolling chassis will be equipped with a new electric driveline. Once the truck is cleaned and all liquids have been drained, then the bumper, hood, and cab will be removed and prepped for reassembly. Next, the original axles, fifth wheel, and brake system from the existing truck will be transferred onto the new chassis. Then the cab, hood, and bumper will be reassembled.
TrovaCV is developing a prototype vehicle and engineering processes for the conversion program, with rollout planned in late 2022.
The environmental benefits of the TrovaCV D2E Program extend to putting the recovered components, such as the diesel engine, transmission, and cooling module, into a reman process to extend their life cycles. In addition, the old chassis will be reconditioned and reused if possible; otherwise it will be recycled.
“It is simply not possible to reach lofty zero emission targets without transforming existing diesel trucks in one way or another,” explains Collignon, the former chief operating officer for Volvo Trucks North and South America who founded Trova.
The start-up has attracted former Volvo/Mack executives. Denny Slagle, who retired as executive vice president of Volvo Group and president of Mack Trucks in 2018, is senior advisor. Susan Alt, who retired as Volvo Group senior vice president of public affairs in 2019, recently joined the Trova advisory board.