Update 1: EMC Previews Plug-In Pickup Based On The Ford F-150

EMC Previews Plug-In Pickup Based On The Ford F-150

Update #1 Sept-08-2009 09:33 PDT:
EMC e-mailed us a second front-end picture of the Flash plug-in pickup.

EMC Flash Sneak Peek

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Electric Motors Corporation's new teaser photo of the Flash, the first of two plug-in serial hybrid trucks that it plans to start building next year, shows that it has unconventional styling to match its unconventional powertrain.

“You’re familiar with how the Prius is different from a typical car -- the Flash is like that for a pickup truck. It’s that kind of different,” Wil Cashen, CEO of EMC, said yesterday.

EMC hopes to build the plug-ins in Indiana with manufacturing partner and RV maker Gulf Stream Coach. The EMC Flash pickup is based on the Ford F-150 and is intended for families and personal-use truck buyers.

“It’s an electric truck with an onboard range-extender generator system,” Cashen said. “We’ve taken an F-150 and have done something similar to Tesla, where they used a Lotus sports car for the underpinnings of their electric car. We’re using an American-made vehicle for [the underpinnings] of our truck.”

The Flash will use an electric motor to drive the wheels, while a small 1.2-liter gas engine is used as an on-board generator to recharge the batteries when power levels drop below a certain point, the same approach that GM is using with the Chevy Volt.

Cashen said that the Flash will have three different battery options: The smallest, least-expensive configuration is expected to get the equivalent of 40 mpg. Adding a second layer of batteries is estimated to get up to 100 mpg and adding a third set, Cashen said, will return up to 250 mpg. The batteries are mounted in-between the truck’s frame rails.

“We’re building a vehicle that doesn’t force the customer to edit their lifestyle,” Cashen said. “The unique thing about a truck is that [battery] packaging isn’t an issue like it is for cars.”

The Flash is expected to have the same work capabilities of the 4.2-liter six-cylinder Ford F-150 model that was discontinued last year. That truck could tow up to 5,700 pounds and carry up to 1,940 pounds. However, it won’t be able to handle many off-road scenarios. Cashen said it’s primarily designed as an on-road truck.

“We’re starting out with the simplest unit first to get people used to them and get them out on the road,” Cashen said. “We could easily make the truck make a lot of horsepower, but if the customer has to pay for $90,000 in batteries, we’ve wasted our time. Over time, that could change as more battery manufacturing capacity comes online and prices hopefully start to fall.”

EMC hopes to keep the Flash’s starting cost under $50,000. Buyers may be able to qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

A second, commercial truck will follow the Flash's full debut in November, called the Thunderbolt, Cashen said. The Thunderbolt will be aimed at the construction, emergency vehicle and motion picture industries. It is expected to have greater battery capacity than the Flash, and should be able to function as a power generating solution at job sites. It’s also expected to operate as a mobile communications platform, with high-speed wireless Internet access, acting as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Flash made its sneak preview debut this evening at the Green Jobs for American Exposition at EMC's Wakarusa, Ind., headquarters, where the Flash and Thunderbolt are expected to be built.

Comments

A lot of money fro a pickup that cant go offroad. But then again most ppl dont go offroad in their trucks anymore. Street Queens.

I take it the batteries ate Lithium ion? What will happen to them in case of a wreck? What protection is there?

@Heath: Yep. Li-Ion batteries. No word on what happens in a crash. Stay tuned.

Gosh, still the stupid philosophy: unconventional powered cars have to look unconventional = like a plastic toys! Don't tell me, that the Prius looks good...and that the other one - Chevy Volt - the same damn design hype "look, I'm an ecologic guy!" without a taste for cars... XD

Nice effort. I think they have taken the wrong approach in styling though. People would want an electric F150 to still look tough. They still want it to tow and do everything they did before, they just want electric propulsion. Am I wrong in saying this on behalf of everybody? On the other hand, I do understand how aerodynamics plays a big role in range on elec vehicles.

Nice idea, but it won't sell looking like that, maybe fleet trucks, but the average Joe wants his truck to have a tough capable look.

For that kind of money, I'll pass. Plus, something's missing.
Oh, I know! How about a real dealer network, and maybe a place to get it worked on?

@ARON,
The Prius is about the most aerodynamic production car currently available (Mercedes E-class is better but bigger), and it looks it.

This truck doesn't need the enormous grille, so they blocked it off. It would be nice if they remade that bluff front more like the 1997 F-series, but presumably that would cost a lot.

@www.skierpage.com/openid: I know it very good, but to be honest - You're buying a car that looks good or has only a good Cx-factor? I have nothing against electric powered cars, but damn, make them looking good, not plastic - is it so much?

@www.skierpage.com/openid
Whoa hold on with that comment there. "The Prius is about the most aerodynamic production car currently available". Aerodynamic is a broad term that encompases then entire subject of how air flows around an object in motion. The Prius has one of the lowest drag coefficients of drag of any car on the market would be the accurate statement. The most aerodynamic production car would be the Gumpert Apollo due to it having a low drag coefficient and high levels of downforce.

Just looking for accuracy here.

I think the truck looks cool!!! It should have its own look because it is not a standard truck... it delivers energy to a home and uses energy to drive the truck.... 67% of all trucks sold are used on road only... I think I read that some where???

So, is there a running/driving demo available? to be showing a non-running prototype in September, and claiming you'll be building them in spring, is beyond impossible.

These guys' competitors are already showcasing running/driving technology, albeit with far more "realistic" claims. Have they built a dealer network yet? whose engine are they using, or are they expecting to develop that in 6 months too? (even more crazy a claim)

We've seen all the fanfare, the fancy new signs on the "corporate headquarters" but where is the actual research and development taking place?? it is *awfully* strange to be seeing all this marketing glitz and clamor, and exactly *zero* talk about what should be, at this stage of the game, a very-near-production ready fleet of vehicles going through final testing stages. Just like every other automotive manufacturer.

Actually, I'll admit I've spent MUCH time researching these guys' backgrounds, the engine they're using (can be found on youtue, "WESCOA") and the only conclusion I can come to is, this is a far fetched scheme designed to put quick money - as much taxpayer funds as possible - into the pockets of a few executives, who, if you google their names, you can find some interesting histories about. It's obvious that the "R&D" program is nothing more than a few guys patching up some old junk to make look like it's great new technology.



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