Wrightspeed, the firm founded by Tesla co-founder Ian Wright, builds electric powertrains for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Now the company has announced an agreement with vehicle manufacturer Matthews Specialty Vehicles to convert buses, trucks and specialty vehicles to EVs and/or PHEVs. The companies aim to produce 5,000 vehicles over the next five years.
For the specialty vehicle segment, vehicles up to Class 7 will be able to operate on full battery-electric power, or perform extended missions with Wrightspeed’s on-board range extenders, which can use renewable/compressed natural gas (RNG/CNG) or hydrogen.
Wrightspeed and Matthews are targeting specialty vehicles in the medical, education and law enforcement sectors, which should benefit from Wrightspeed’s high-efficiency powertrain that “delivers incredible torque to ensure these vehicles can operate safely even in high-grade conditions.”
The Matthews vehicles will have gross vehicle weight (GVW) up to 53,000 lbs, range up to 500 miles, and gradeability of over 35 percent, while providing the most efficient kWh/mile rating available. The powertrains will be manufactured at Wrightspeed’s 110,000-square-foot facility in Alameda, California, and installed at Matthews’s facilities in Greensboro, North Carolina and upstate New York.
“Wrightspeed’s medium and heavy-duty powertrains are a great fit for Matthews vehicles,” said Matthews VP of Sales and Marketing Dennis Hoag. “The full solution and modularity will help accelerate our entrance into the electric vehicle space.”
School buses and command control vehicles are available for pre-order now, and the first deliveries are planned for the second half of 2022.
Wrightspeed and Matthews are currently fulfilling their first order from defense and security specialist Allen Global Enterprises to develop and produce 30 tactical Mobile Detection Systems (MDS).
“Wrightspeed’s EV technology not only gives MDS an extended travel range but also allows MDS to stay on station for as long as two weeks while operating all systems onboard,” said Allen Global Enterprises founder and CEO John Allen. “This is critical to the mission whenever MDS is utilized in such events as a natural disaster.”