The current iteration of PML Flightlink's Hi-Pa Drive electric Ford F-150, which will debut next week at SEMA, is 100 percent electric powered, according to Peter Christie, PML's director of sales and marketing
Energy for the four wheel-mounted electric motors is stored in a 40-kilowatt lithium-ion battery, mounted where the fuel tank used to be.
"Depending on the drive cycle, the truck's electric-power-only range is 75 to 100 miles," Christie said. "It requires plugging in overnight to recharge the battery."
PML has no plans to end its efforts to "green up" the F-150 after the SEMA show ends.
"The next step is to make the F-150 into a full series hybrid during the first quarter of 2009," said PML CEO Craig Knight. "We're hoping to use a flex-fuel motor from Ford that's already been certified [by the federal government]. That engine would be used to recharge the batteries when the truck is driving. We think it's a realistic goal the truck could get more than 100 mpg as a series hybrid."
In turning an F-150 into an all-electric full-size pickup, PML has removed its engine, transmission, exhaust system and rear differential. Even with four 66-pound motors that deliver 150 horsepower and an astonishing 516 pounds-feet of torque per wheel, the truck weighs less than a conventionally powered F-150.
Software controls power output to each wheel, depending on road conditions and slippage, using computer code to create a digital differential and full-time all-wheel drive.
"We're demonstrating that in-wheel motors can be used on larger vehicles," Knight said. "You don't have to be small to be green, and [if you're a manufacturer] you don't have to give up your most profitable vehicles. We're removing oil, carbon and cost from driving without compromising consumer choice and vehicle design."
There are no plans, for now, to mass produce the Hi-Pa F-150, but that could change. Knight said he believes that with the right backing and partnerships, Hi-Pa F-150s, or something similar, could roll off assembly lines by 2011.
We'll have more on the Hi-Pa F-150 next week during our SEMA show coverage.