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Top 5 Impressions from SEMA in Sin City!

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I last attended the SEMA Show in Las Vegas about eight years ago. It’s amazing how much things change…and how much stays the same!

For those who don’t know, the SEMA Show is an annual trade show and exposition in Las Vegas for the paint, body and aftermarket automotive industry. Picture every wheel, tire, air filter, exhaust and all the parts in between in attendance and on display. Most manufacturers use highly customized demonstration vehicles in their booths to display their wares. The size, attendance and energy far surpassed my expectations. I’ve worked in or around the automotive industry for most of my professional life and hold cars and trucks as one of my top personal hobbies.

Without further ado, here are my top five impressions from SEMA 2017:

1. Trucks, trucks, and more trucks
Americans still love trucks. It should be no surprise that both Ford and Chevy are celebrating century anniversaries selling theirs. Plus, a pickup is still the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. Lifted, lowered, polished or dirty. Highly polished or fully wrapped in custom paint, graphics and extreme levels of personalization. Customized for the boulevard or modified for the mountain. Americans (present company included) love trucks.
Continue reading “Top 5 Impressions from SEMA in Sin City!”

Top 5 Impressions from SEMA in Sin City!

Observations from SEMA: How XL Hybrids Aligns with Emerging Automotive Trends

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As an avid “gearhead” I could not miss the opportunity to attend the 50th Annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas, along with the concurrent AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) conference. Representing XL Hybrids, I had many great conversations and meetings with our current and potential suppliers, and with automotive industry experts. While SEMA is largely a consumer show, many companies with technology offerings for commercial fleet customers – the types of customers XL Hybrids targets with our commercial vehicle electrification solutions – were on display.

Walking the aisles, I observed that within the ever-expanding lineup of automotive technologies there are several significant commonalities with the strategic path XL Hybrids is taking:
– Rise of the connected vehicle
– Downsizing of engines
– Increasing sophistication of vehicle branding efforts
– Ability to install a product on both new and existing vehicles, and
– Global distribution and installation networks of automotive companies
Continue reading “Observations from SEMA: How XL Hybrids Aligns with Emerging Automotive Trends”

Observations from SEMA: How XL Hybrids Aligns with Emerging Automotive Trends

XL Hybrids System Installation on a GM Van Takes Just Hours

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At XL Hybrids, we have designed our XL3 hybrid-electric system to be simple to install – so simple that it can be completed by one technician in just hours. Standard automotive tools and a vehicle lift are all that’s required. In this short clip, we give you a behind-the-scenes tour as I install the XL Hybrids system in a General Motors van for the City of Boston.

I begin with the XL Hybrids electric motor, which is installed behind the vehicle’s transmission. A lithium ion battery pack is installed behind the rear axle. Both motor and battery are connected to an inverter on the vehicle’s frame rail. A closed-loop cooling system and wiring harnesses finish it off. That’s all there is to it. With all components installed, I take the vehicle for a short test drive to verify that detailed performance data is being reported, including MPG improvement.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids System Installation on a GM Van Takes Just Hours”

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XL Hybrids Continues To Fill The Gap In Elon Musk & President Obama’s All-Electric Vehicle Plans

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This article first appeared in The Fuse on August 24, 2016.

Bravo to Elon Musk and President Obama. They continue to think big by setting ambitious goals for U.S. vehicle electrification, backed by multi-billion dollar commitments to various all-electric vehicles and charging stations.

Last month, the Obama administration announced loan guarantees of up to $4.5 billion to build electric-car charging stations, and support broader electrification. Back in June, Mr. Musk unveiled Tesla’s Master Plan Part Deux. Besides calling for an audacious solution of vertically-integrated solar panel-charged Tesla sports cars, Part Deux also includes plans to build an all-electric pickup truck, an electric heavy-duty semi-truck, and an electric bus concept that would turn a bus driver into a “fleet manager.” Musk said his overall goal is for Tesla to offer an array of products and services to accelerate the transition away from oil.
Continue reading “XL Hybrids Continues To Fill The Gap In Elon Musk & President Obama’s All-Electric Vehicle Plans”

XL Hybrids Continues To Fill The Gap In Elon Musk & President Obama’s All-Electric Vehicle Plans

The Critical Ingredient for Delivering Low Cost Fuel Economy and Sustainability: DATA

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It is exciting to finally be able to talk about the elephant in the XL Hybrids garage! The recent debut of our XL LinkTM cloud-based connectivity and analytics system means we can finally share one of the critical ingredients in our recipe for delivering low cost fuel economy and sustainability: DATA.

Today, making smart and informed equipment purchasing decisions is just the beginning–not the end–of the story. Cutting edge connectivity and cloud technologies can now provide us with the data to validate these purchasing decisions by proving that equipment delivers and continues to deliver the performance promised. More than that though, they can empower us to leave behind the old, one-size-fits-all, depreciating model of purchasing and using equipment in favor of an adaptive, iterative program of progressive improvement tailored to the realities of a specific business. We developed the XL3® hybrid electric drive system hardware platform product with real time performance feedback precisely to enable our own cycle of innovation -> validation -> adaptation, and we are thrilled to be able to finally share our software platform product XL Link, one of the key components that allows us to continue to develop and improve our system’s performance, with our partners and customers.
Continue reading “The Critical Ingredient for Delivering Low Cost Fuel Economy and Sustainability: DATA”

The Critical Ingredient for Delivering Low Cost Fuel Economy and Sustainability: DATA

XL Hybrids Founders Offer Suggestions for Bill Gates Energy Coalition

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Dear Mr. Gates,

From your recent MIT Tech Review interview, it sounds like your Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which is rallying investors to fund more clean energy technologies to stop global warming, is progressing.

As lifelong entrepreneurs and founders of a scaling clean technology company, we find it inspiring that you are personalizing this effort to enable transformative energy solutions, and that you’ve set an ambitious goal to stop global warming at less than a 2 degrees Celsius rise. Let’s go for it! Continue reading “XL Hybrids Founders Offer Suggestions for Bill Gates Energy Coalition”

XL Hybrids Founders Offer Suggestions for Bill Gates Energy Coalition

Accelerating Vehicle Electrification

Tod Hynes is President and Founder of XL Hybrids, the leader in fleet electrification solutions for commercial and municipal fleets. Hynes was director of alternative energy at Citizens Energy and started the company’s wind development businesses. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he co-founded the MIT Clean Energy Prize and teaches a graduate course called Energy Ventures at the university. Continue reading “Accelerating Vehicle Electrification”

Accelerating Vehicle Electrification