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• Montreal company Effenco is launching a wirelessly charged, fully electric propulsion system for heavy-duty trucks, and its upfront costs will be similar to the diesel-powered equivalent.
Founded in 2006, Effenco specializes in a hybrid retrofit solution for garbage trucks and other heavy-duty “stop-start” vehicles. The system results in reduced wear and up to 30 per cent in fuel savings, according to the firm. It has sold 400 systems around the world, including a recent order for 157 trucks to Derichebourg Environnement, a Paris-based waste and recycling-recovery firm.
Effenco uses an ultracapacitor, a key part of the retrofit. Also known as a supercapacitor, ultracapacitors store electricity as a static charge rather than as an electrochemical reaction, as with lithium-ion batteries. Ultracapacitors charge faster, last longer and are less expensive.
Effenco customers will partner with truck manufacturers to install the electric-propulsion systems instead of internal-combustion engines, the company's president David Arsenault said.
The propulsion systems cost the same as diesel engines and have roughly half the maintenance costs, Arsenault said he expects most of his existing 50 clients to adopt the new solution.
Because ultracapacitors can't store the same power as lithium-ion batteries, Effenco's system suits highuse, low-mileage, fleet-based transport with set routes, such as tractors in ports.
Effenco said wireless-charging stations will be installed along customers' routes, where vehicles can charge in about five minutes. In some applications, supercapacitors can reach full-load capacity in a matter of seconds.