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Tesla Co-Founder Starts Building Sustainable Garbage Trucks

Wrightspeed-electric-powertrain-537x357Tesla co-founder Ian Wright, who broke with the company in 2005, has continued to work on developing sustainable vehicles, and is working on an exciting new project that hopes to make garbage trucks and other large vehicles environmentally friendly.

His new company Wrightspeed is developing a clean electric powertrain specifically designed for large trucks. Right now, the focus is specifically on garbage trucks, but this same type of design can be applied to large vehicles of all types, something that modern electric car technology has not yet taken into consideration.

The powertrain will cost between $150,000 and $200,000 to install, but could cut maintenance and gas costs significantly. Wrightspeed has already sold 25 electric powertrains to FedEx and 17 to the Ratto Group for their garbage trucks.

According to the Wrightspeed website:

Wrightspeed’s Powertrains move the complexity from mechanical systems into electronic and software systems, making them lighter, cheaper, and more efficient. Clutchless gear shifting is a good example of this:

Traditional multi-speed transmissions use clutches (synchro rings, multi-disc wet clutches, twin-clutch arrangements) to achieve synchronization before engagement; this makes them, heavy, expensive, and less efficient. But with electric motors, it becomes possible to control the motor speed eso precisely, and change it so quickly, that the shifter dog-clutches can be engaged without clashing. The sync function that used to be performed by mechanical means has been shifted into software control of electronics, driving the electric motor witd without clashing. The sync function that used to be performed by mechanical means hah precision. The system is therefore lighter, cheaper, and more efficient. Wrightspeed’s control software weighs nothing, costs nothing to manufacture, doesn’t wear out, and uses the electronics that are already present to drive the motor.

The Wrightspeed GTD is shown below, on a dynamometer, simulating acceleration from stop to first gear, shifting to second gear, back down to first gear and then a full torque stop. The shifting is too quiet to hear. The sound produced here is the motor accelerating and decelerating at maximum torque. The GTD jumps when the motor changes speed due to torque reaction (torque reaction can be observed under the hood of a conventional car, when accelerated hard in neutral).


John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.

This article (Tesla Co-Founder Starts Building Sustainable Garbage Trucks) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

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