Imagine the scene: Automotive executives at an industry conference test-driving electrified and hybrid vehicles from various independent companies, including Ford models upfitted with XL Hybrids technology. The test track is filled with commercial trucks of all shapes and sizes demonstrating different technologies. A van driving on the track by starts to slow down. Instead of the usual sound and motion of normal breaking, the van sounds like someone is pounding from inside the cargo hold, trying to escape. Heads turn to see the commotion.
This scene proves an important point for any company developing and deploying electrified technology for commercial vehicles: When fleet industry folks buy a commercial vehicle, they want it to drive – and sound – like an OEM-quality vehicle: Same drivability, same reliability. And when it comes to electrified vehicles, fleet driver experience often means more to the fleet manager than the financial and sustainability savings.
XL Hybrids has taken to heart this reality as we have designed and deployed our hybrid-electric (HEV) and plug-in (PHEV) vehicle technology on commercial trucks and vans. For example, our new XLP PHEV F-150 pickup truck technology – which was among the XL vehicle technology successfully featured at this test track event– keeps the Ford powertrain completely intact. Our electric motor and battery pack work smoothly in tandem with the Ford powertrain to propel and decelerate the truck.
When executives and other test drivers tested XL-upfitted electrified vehicles that day, their overwhelming feedback was that our HEV and PHEV vehicles – including a Ford Transit van, an E-Series box truck, and a PHEV F-150 all drove like they came from a Ford plant. Of course, the test drive participants drive a lot of OEM vehicles, so they did notice some extra pickup in acceleration and stopping power when braking in XL vehicles, due to our hybrid-electric motor/generator.
Fleet managers and drivers across North America have provided similar feedback. When they look underneath an XL vehicle, they don’t see a science project; they recognize all the major Ford (and GM an Isuzu) systems and components. This differs significantly from other companies deploying electrified systems on Ford vehicles. Others often remove major Ford components – with some going so far as replacing Ford’s engine, transmission and powertrain to fit in other parts. As you can imagine, this can lead to unfamiliar noises, different drivability, as well as significant operational limitations (such as limited range of EV’s). You’re not driving a Ford anymore.
XL systems don’t require any major modifications to the underlying vehicle, and we only add three major components that are neatly integrated underneath the vehicle. Nothing looks unfinished, nothing looks out of place, nothing sounds strange. We figure, Ford (and GM) has been making vehicles for more than 100 years. They know how to build trucks. Our strategy is to keep these proven, hard-working trucks intact while adding our technology to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
This strategy helped XL become the first supplier granted Ford’s electrified Qualified Vehicle Modifier (eQVM) status. While gaining eQVM was a long process that included shared engineering information between XL and Ford, in short, this designation means that when you upfit your vehicles with HEV and PHEV systems from XL Hybrids, the Ford factory warranty remains intact. (Note: The same holds for GM and Isuzu vehicle warranties, too.) Having eQVM status helps put customers at ease. And this confidence continues to Ford dealers, too. eQVM shows that Ford in Dearborn has performed due diligence on suppliers.
Here’s how XL’s proposition adds up for Ford fleets:
• Buy the Ford trucks you want.
• Keep the Ford factory warranty.
• Take advantage of your eligibility for Ford service.
• Rest assured that Ford dealers are familiar with the technology.
That’s a package that sounds good to us.
Want to learn more? See how XL Hybrids’ technology works.