Raser Technologies, Inc. has finalized a deal with a group of private investors led by California investor Carl E. Berg that forms a new electric automotive company intent on building pickup trucks and SUVs for fleet customers.

Kraig Higginson, Chairman of Raser Technologies explains, “We have been successful in the development of a very promising E-REV power train technology.  We are pleased that it will soon be offered commercially in America’s most popular vehicle, the pick-up truck, by an exciting new electric vehicle company.  The new company plans to begin delivering the first extended range electric trucks to fleet customers beginning the end of this year.”

For the Berg side, he has strategic holdings in a leading lithium ion battery company and an electric vehicle manufacturing company specializing in medium duty electric trucks and delivery vehicles. In the transaction Mr. Berg will initially capitalize the new company with $4.5 million, of which Raser will receive $2.5 million in cash; $1.5 million was paid at closing and the remainder to be paid by December 20, 2010.  The balance of $4.5 million will be used as working capital for the new company.

Beyond the cash, Raser receives a 39% interest in the new company and will retain the right to appoint one of the three members of the new company’s board of directors.

Mr. Berg notes, “I am very pleased with the acquisition and the opportunity for rapid growth in the electric vehicle market based on Raser’s strategic position, orders and their E-REV truck technology.  I believe that this automotive company will offer a completely new kind of work truck to help electrify the largest segment of the automobile business and convert thousands of soft orders into deliveries over the next few years.”

It’s all adding up.  In July of 2010, Raser said that it had a backlog of more than 10,000 soft orders for plug-in fleet vehicles.  Back in 2008 Raser and its systems integration partner FEV announced and displayed the components of its extended-range plug-in series hybrid electric vehicle power train and integrated drive system designed for full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. In ’09 FEV showcased a range-extended electric vehicle HUMMER H3 done in cooperation with Raser at the SAE World Congress.

Raser Series Hybrid Pickup SUV Chassis. Click image for the largest view.

Today the specs gathered across web pages sends 700 volts of DC power directly to the 3-phase inverter, eliminating a DC/DC converter, from advanced technology lithium ion batteries to a 200 kW Raser designed ‘Symetron Enhanced’ AC induction motor and drive system with regenerative braking.  A high power controller drives the motor at maximum efficiency using proprietary control algorithms.  The hybrid master controller manages all vehicle systems.

For four wheel drive a high performance automatic transmission and transfer case sharing power between the front and rear axles delivers the performance of a fully powered 4 wheel drive.  One motor does it all.

For power beyond the battery charge and to extend range an onboard 100 kW generator can also recharge the batteries rapidly and efficiently.  The Generator also provides direct power to the electric motor when batteries are low.  The Symetron PM generator was custom designed to match the most efficient operating speeds of the combustion engine. This allows the engine to operate only at its peak efficiency range and only when needed to recharge the lithium ion batteries.

In Raser’s plug-in series hybrid architecture, the combustion engine is only used occasionally to recharge the batteries. A much smaller, more efficient 1 to 2 liter combustion engine can replace a conventional 5-6-liter engine. The combustion engine is connected only to the electric generator and is not connected to the drive system.  The engine is used only generate electricity and recharge the batteries when the vehicle drives beyond its 40-mile battery range.

Just what body or cab will be available isn’t stated.  But as Raser and the new firm get up to speed costs due to manufacturing volume should pull prices down.  Getting your favorite Ford, Chevy or Dodge pickup in series hybrid is coming.

Raser is a company of some considerable acumen.  From geothermal to the hybrid power trains the company is making solid progress – something other innovators should watch closely, in getting to market.  Raser seems to the leader and aspirants to get past them are going to need a very major breakthrough technology.

Go Raser, Go!


2 Comments so far

  1. Matt Musson on November 27, 2010 9:51 AM

    Uhh? Didn’t this company make push scooters?

  2. pharmacy tech on November 28, 2010 9:26 PM

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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