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ArvinMeritor expanding into alternative-fueled vehicle solutions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- ArvinMeritor Inc. has entered into a new alternative-power vehicle development program with an...

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — ArvinMeritor Inc. has entered into a new alternative-power vehicle development program with an electric drivetrain with Unicell Ltd., a medium-duty body builder with operations in Toronto, Ontario, and Buffalo, N.Y.

The new electric drive vehicle, with a GVWR of 16,000 lbs., will be equipped with a fully-electric drivetrain and will be demonstrated to the public in 2006.

The initial vehicle application is for pickup and delivery vehicles. The particular fleet name is being withheld pending completion of the vehicle development.

"We are leveraging our experience in electric drive axles and are gaining the know-how to design similar systems for other applications, such as school bus and low-floor bus and coach vehicles," stated Garrick Hu, vice president of Advanced Engineering for ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business unit.

Hu commented that many commercial vocational applications exist where this type of zero emissions vehicle will become dominant over the next five to 15 years, primarily due to reduced emissions in urban environments. The rate of adoption will be largely dependent on the cost of battery energy storage relative to the cost of fossil fuel.

On the Unicell vehicles, the team of ArvinMeritor engineers acknowledges that the new electric drivetrain system will provide the fleet operator lower energy costs, zero emissions and considerable operations efficiency.

For over 15 years, ArvinMeritor has been designing and manufacturing electric drive axles, specifically for low-floor buses in Europe. This new drivetrain system relies on onboard energy storage and delivers the torque to the wheel ends via motors integral to the vehicle’s rear axles.

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