Fuel is Expensive…
Companies are spending significant monies on fuel with no practical way to materially reduce their operating costs.
Electric isn’t ready…
Electric vehicles are expensive, risky and highly limited in their availability.
EchoDrive bridges the gap…
EchoDrive inexpensively retrofits existing fleet vehicles with a system that can deliver up to a 50% increase in fuel efficiency.
Echo Automotive™ develops technologies and products that allow the cost effective conversion of existing vehicles into highly fuel efficient hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Key to Echo’s strategy is the bolt-on nature of its solutions that introduce little, or in some cases, no additional points of failure, making its offerings very low risk compared to other solutions.
Echo Automotive™ is developing a modular platform called EchoDrive™. This platform allows Echo Automotive to develop technologies, such as battery modules, control systems, propulsion modules and vehicle interface systems that can then be deployed in different configurations on a broad range of vehicles. By leveraging the EchoDrive platform, solutions can be configured as hybrid, plug-in hybrid or even pseudo electric, where significant battery capacity is integrated into a vehicle to leverage as much electrical energy as possible.
We believe by developing these technologies as modules, Echo can efficiently modify, augment and reposition its offerings to fulfill a broad range of customer needs or quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace. In addition, the characteristics of each vehicle as well the mission of each customer is different, so the EchoDrive platform will allow for unparalleled configurability from motor placement to battery capacity. This flexibility, we believe, allows EchoDrive’s to be easily bolted on to or retrofit on an existing vehicle’s powertrain and assist it with inexpensive electrical energy to increase its fuel efficiency. This modular solution will likely allow Echo to deploy its solution on a broad range of vehicles quickly and with significantly reduced R&D expense.
By targeting the fleet market, Echo plans to benefit from the need to reduce overall operating costs by selling multiple kits to each customer. In addition, with the help of strategic financing partnerships, EchoDrive™ likely will pay for itself in a relatively reasonable time frame and provide a return on the investment of the installation of EchoDrive™ to the customer.
Echo™ will employ both direct as well as indirect sales channels, including distribution partnerships with service companies, fleet financing and other entities that currently serve the fleet market.
Although there has been much promise and excitement surrounding next generation hybrids, alternative fuel and electric vehicles, to date there has been very little measurable commercial success. In the even more demanding world of commercial fleet vehicle electrification, there has yet to be any significant adoption due to the overwhelming capital expenditure required to realize a sustainable and profitable business that can scale large enough to provide cost effective electric vehicles. Management believes that widespread adoption of these new vehicles will probably take a decade or more as fleet operators are, by their nature, risk adverse and slow in their adoption of unproven vehicles. The current electric fleet vehicle industry is largely fragmented and has been relatively inept in its ability to profitably and reliably deliver vehicles, parts and know-how in any volume. With failures of two of the top leaders in fleet electrification within the first half of 2011 (Bright Automotive and Azure Dynamics), Echo believes fleet operators will remain skeptical for years to come. Until the cost of producing electric vehicles drops drastically, and the ‘real-world’ return on investment is far shorter than the vehicle’s expected lifetime, management believes that fleets will not adopt these vehicles in mass.
EchoDrive™ system is a solution for converting fleet vehicles into fuel-efficient plug-in hybrids. Today’s internal combustion engines are highly inefficient in that they still only use a small percentage of the energy received from fossil fuels consumed. Management believes that fleet operators can reduce their operating expenses with EchoDrive™, a simple, affordable and financeable solution. EchoDrive can be bolted onto new and existing vehicles cost-effectively to reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption. The EchoDrive components include an electric motor, system controller and modular battery-packs that enable the ‘right-sizing’ of the battery to help shorten the return on investment and align to the customer’s needs and budget. With EchoDrive™ installed, these vehicles are then plugged in using any available power source from a standard 110 voltage outlet to any industry standard rapid charger via the integrated ‘J-Plug’, thereby increasing energy efficiency with grid power.
During operation of the vehicle, EchoDrive applies the stored energy via the electric motor to assist the power train when the internal combustion engine is most inefficient, significantly reducing the workload of the engine and the use of fossil fuels. Like hybrid vehicles, EchoDrive recaptures energy (electrons) for its battery packs when the vehicles utilize their brakes. Additionally, EchoDrive’s unique engineering allows for uninterrupted driving in the unlikely event of most system or component failures, making EchoDrive an attractive alternative for critical fleet operations.
Strategic Advantages of EchoDrive
Short Term Return on Investment
EchoDrive’s solution objective is to achieve a more competitive payback with less reliance on extensive government subsidies and by being a low cost provider relative to the gained efficiencies and fuel savings.
Low Risk to Fleet Operations
In the unlikely event of a component failure, the vehicle will simply revert to its pre conversion operating capabilities of full gasoline powered engine operation. This reduces the fear of unproven new technologies affecting operations and helps give the buyer a more predictable vehicle resale value.
Flexible Electric Energy System
We believe our scalable and modular electrical storage system allows fleets to deploy the right amount of expensive batteries for the need on each vehicle to shorten the return on investment and align to the customer needs and budget.
Flexible Solution Set
EchoDrive’s flexible strategy and design is designed for broad deployment. Complete retrofit kits and new vehicles require significant design and regulatory approval. EchoDrive can be fitted on most vehicles with simply engineered adapter plates and brackets. The Company’s strategy is to fit many types of fleet vehicles through its “simple” design and flexible component approach.
Management believes EchoDrive’s projected quick return on investment (“ROI”), shared savings models, and pre-approved financing options allow companies to manage their cash flow for the capital expenditure while benefitting from the EchoDrive™ operational cost savings.
By leveraging mostly off-the-shelf components from industry leading automotive suppliers, EchoDrive can scale without the same manufacturing risks that plague full retrofit providers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (“OEMs”).
EchoDrive™ is a modular set of components that can be assembled in different configurations to support a broad range of client requirements. This approach will enable Echo to rapidly move its offerings into other product areas including hybrids and OEM fittings. Echo has developed its system and software to be component sourcing independent therefore allowing for flexible system revisions and changes where necessary. Echo is also employing a “self-learning” type programming style that will allow for the system to improve itself over time.