KLD’s OneDrive System Is Gaining Traction

If talks now underway with automakers are successful, KLD Energy Technologies may in due time contribute its OneDrive propulsion technology not just to the off-highway utility vehicle and scooter pictured, but to a composite-bodied series plug-in hybrid passenger car produced by a maker with household name-brand recognition.

This we learned from KLD’s business development manager Ian Stonington yesterday when inquiring about the funky VW-inspired Kombi mini truck to be made this year in the by U.S. by Cenntro, and that’s capable of 25 mph with a payload of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).

As would be expected, while Stonington was willing to tip his hand a little bit on what the Austin, Texas-based start-up hopes to write a full press release on later this year, it’s still a little early to name names of specific automakers it’s dealing with, or otherwise spill the beans overly much.

The 550 MPGe Eclimo electric scooter with KLD propulsion system is sold in Malaysia and China. Its maker is seeking U.S. homologation, and  Zero Motorcycle's former Director of Mechanical Engineering, and now KLD engineering chief, John Bautista, is helping with it along. Bautista has experience with these issues, having worked for Zero from 2008 – 2010 and developed Zero's MX, S and DS model lines.

The 550 MPGe Eclimo electric scooter with KLD propulsion system is sold in Malaysia and China. Its maker is seeking U.S. homologation, and Zero Motorcycles’ former Director of Mechanical Engineering, and now KLD engineering chief, John Bautista is helping it along. Bautista has experience with these issues, having worked for Zero from 2008 – 2010 and he developed Zero’s MX, S and DS model lines.

The short story however is KLD – which in 2012 stood alongside established companies like Caterpillar and GE in winning an Edison Award – is discussing a potential city car with several OEMs, including U.S.-based ones, that would prefer to give business to a fellow U.S. based supplier like KLD.

The plug-in series hybrid with KLD propulsion system could get somewhere around 125 MPGe, Stonington said. This is probably not an overstatement given Cenntro’s little pre-production 1,764-pound truck powered by KLD components gets 255 MPGe (108 km/l or 13.2 kwh/100 miles) with a range of 45 miles at 25 mph.

KLD also supplies Eclimo, a Malaysian maker of a 550-MPGe electric scooter with its proprietary matched-component powertrain consisting of Samsung SDI lithium-ion battery, in-house built battery management system and motor. The scooter goes 50 mph, and at 45 mph, boasts a range of 53 miles.

Sustainable Mission

KLD Energy Technologies’ forward-looking vision is to improve transportation of all sorts, and it’s actually gaining traction in the U.S. now with the Cenntro contract for the off-highway market. Its next move will likely be in the neighborhood electric vehicle market, while being open to more.

The Cenntro will cost about $15,000, about $5,000 more than a golf cart, and will be potentially more utilitarian for farmers, small businesses, factories, and others who can make good use of it.

Three_components_green_4-wheel_CMYK_v3

Its OneDrive system is touted for its high-torque, low rpm system with low driveline losses which it says is “the most efficient drive system in its class today.”

The modular system can be applied to a wide range of applications which KLD says leads to simplicity and performance up to a high level. KLD further says its system is cost-effective, upgradable and serviceable.

The company recently joined the Electric Drive Transportation Association, and company CEO Christian Okonsky was a speaker on one of the expert panels for which HybridCars.com was in attendance to report.

Okonsky self-deprecatingly told the audience of peers he is “not that smart” and when he needed a name in 2007 for his new company, he took the first initial from each of his three oldest sons, Kyle, Luke and Dean.

The Cenntro truck on display this week in Washington, D.C., is pre-production. A U.S. assembly location has not been settled, but is expected to be operational by fourth quarter, this year. It uses the KLD OneDrive components, has seat belts, a steel sub-frame and will incorporate rollover protection.

The Cenntro truck on display this week in Washington, D.C., is pre-production. A U.S. assembly location has not been settled, but is expected to be operational by fourth quarter, this year. It uses the KLD OneDrive components, has seat belts, a steel sub-frame and will incorporate rollover protection.

His understatement of his credentials belies the fact that in prior endeavors Okonsky engineered Dell’s first notebook computer and developed a stealth technology F22 launcher for EDO corporation, among other achievements.

Together with a number of other talented engineers and executives, the small company has high hopes as a new American company to keep innovating environmentally responsible solutions.

Stonington said he would like to think of recent recognition for KLD as “an overnight success story that was five years in the making.”

In any case, KLD is playing for the future. Its technology is also adaptable to non-motor-vehicular applications including wind turbines, elevators, and more. Its focus is on safety and sustainability, and we may hear more from KLD on the automotive front in months to come.