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UK's Teva Motors to design electric fleet trucks with Tesla born insight

Teva Motors emerged during 2012 in the United Kingdom with its prime directive developing a 7.5 tonne Diesel Extended Range Electric Truck for the route delivery market and, in picking their development team, has named an engineer involved in the creation of the Tesla Roadster.
Posted: June 26, 2013 - 10:22PM
Author: Don Bain

Malcolm Powell, a former exec with Lotus and overseer of the Tesla team as VP of engineering for the Roadster, will lead the team working on the DERET. EV entrepreneurs Asher Bennett and Trevor Power will join Powell in tackling the next big challenge in the electric vehicle market.

The team will address the subject during the Automotive Cleantech Conference in London on 27th June.

Fleet vehicles, unlike passenger cars, are judged by different criteria. Fleet operators judge an investment by lifetime costs, and as this is where electric vehicles excel, as long as the range meets the needed demands.

"Green is good, but not if you don't deliver the goods," stated Asher Bennett. “Teva overcomes the range issue with its Diesel Range Extender.

The DERET’s drivetrain will eliminate range limitations while keeping costs down and retaining the environmental benefits.

Teva’s approach is to run the small diesel generator only enough each day to re-charge the battery, while optimally using the battery’s capacity, so it can be recharged overnight when electricity is cheapest.

Teva has inked an agreement with China's largest diesel truck exporter to provide the chassis on which the DERET will be built. Tesla similarly bought chasses from Lotus to build the Roadster.

“Using an existing chassis is vital to getting the cost down,” interjected Malcolm Powell. “This is what we did at Tesla with the Lotus chassis. Our expertise is in the drivetrain and battery, not the rest of the truck, so why re-invent the wheel?"

The unnamed Chinese OEM reportedly builds over 1000 trucks a day and the firm considers the agreement a validation of the expertise and track record of the design team as well as the long running automotive heritage of the UK.

Teva has already received a prototype chassis from China and is generating interest from firms like UPS. The DETER will be developed and assembled in the UK.

"The market has clearly told us that electric vehicles must be operationally competitive, they must never run out of range, and they must cost less than diesel vehicles,” boasts Asher Bennett. “This is what Teva Motors is delivering."