Echo Automotive Snags Work Truck Awards, Plus Key Partnerships

Remy, Leggett & Platt, GM all tie up with plug-in, aftermarket hybrid startup

Echo Automotive, Inc. capped a flurry of announcements of partnerships for its EchoDrive – the company’s bolt-on, plug-in hybrid kit – by winning the 2014 Green Award  at the recently concluded Work Truck Show. Last year, Echo won the prestigious Editor’s Choice Award for new product innovation at the 2013 event.

Echo claims that its hybrid system, which fits between the engine and drive train, can save as much as 50% in fuel consumption. Some impressive names have lined up behind the fledgling Scottsdale, AZ startup.

Earlier this month, Echo announced an agreement with Remy International, the former division of General Motors. Jason Plotke, Chairman and President of Echo, noted that Remy has 100,000 traction motors on the road in its ten years of traction motor production.

“The Echo development team understands the demands of their technologies and their uses, and is specifying proven components like our Remy motor that enhance the efficiency and robustness of EchoDrive,” said Jay Pittas, Chief Executive Officer, Remy, Inc.

Just a day before the Remy agreement, Echo revealed that it had signed a distribution and installation agreement with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP), a major automotive parts supplier and upfitter.

“Echo has created a non-intrusive plug-in hybrid system that can deliver hard-dollar cost savings for 10 years,” said John Forest, Vice President of Install Operations for Leggett & Platt’s CVP. “The EchoDrive technology, and the economic value it offers, is impressive – fleets can increase fuel efficiency by 50%. We are excited to add this plug-in hybrid option to our alternative fuels portfolio and our ship-thru services. It is another powerful tool to meet the unique needs of our fleet customers.”

CVP will begin accepting orders for the EchoDrive system later this year, and will offer Echo-certified installation of the EchoDrive system for new vehicles beginning first quarter of 2015.

And in February, Echo announced that GM plans to offer aftermarket installation of the EchoDrive plug-in hybrid to GM’s 2500 and 3500, including the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana, for model years 2010-2014. Production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015.

The EchoDrive system includes an advanced battery, electric motor, inverter and charger. The components work together to provide torque assistance and recover braking energy. Other hybrid systems replace or alter the OEM powertrain, but EchoDrive bolts directly to the vehicle. Its non-invasive, cost-effective design saves fuel without affecting the original OEM warranty. A plug-in system that includes an advanced battery, electric motor, inverter and charger, the components work together to provide torque assistance and recover braking energy. While other hybrid systems replace or alter the OEM powertrain, EchoDrive bolts directly to the vehicle.  In addition to reduced fuel consumption EchoDrive’s stored energy can also be used to provide work-site power for fleet tools and machinery.

~Mike Sheldrick, Senior Editor, Fleet Management Weekly

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