Auburn Hills-based ALTe Powertrain Technologies LLC has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Plymouth-based Inmatech Inc., a spinoff from the University of Michigan, to produce and sell hybrid electric storage devices used in lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors and control electronics.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The joint venture’s applications will range from automotive batteries to stationary grid power leveling devices — which can, for example, help if power-plant or transmission-line equipment fails.
ALTe is initially concentrating on fleet vehicles such as taxis, limousines, delivery trucks, vans and shuttle buses.
ALTe’s estimated $25,000 conversion kit is designed to replace a vehicle’s V-8 engine with a four-cylinder engine and a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which sends power to an electric drive motor.
Combining Inmatech’s supercapacitors with lithium-ion battery cells will enable longer life for the battery cells while reducing cost by as much as 40 percent for an equivalent-size battery made solely of lithium-ion cells, according to a statement.
To bring the hybrid electric storage devices to market, ALTe and Inmatech have submitted grant applications to the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal funding agencies.
Initial feedback has been positive, ALTe said, and the projects are being evaluated by government technical specialists. Pending the approval of any grants, the joint venture will be able to begin production and sales in early 2014.
ALTe will be announcing its first fleet customers in the coming months. Its electric powertrain system will be installed in commercial and government fleets beginning next year.
Most recently, ALTe announced a partnership with Atlanta-based Manheim, an automotive reselling service, to create installation centers for fleet conversions across the country. Manheim, which operates out of 145 locations in 19 countries, will install ALTe’s conversion kits.