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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.

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