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Heavy Duty Vehicle Modifications

Motivo has worked with trucks ranging from Class 3 up to Class 8, and also has experience with military and transit/para-transit bus platforms

Vision Motors was developing a hydrogen fuel cell powered Class 8 truck to be used as a drayage truck in the port of LA. Power for the truck came from a 680V 100 kWh battery pack and a 65 kW fuel cell to power its electric drivetrain. During the vehicle development, Vision encountered problems with their CAN bus integrity and needed assistance identifying the root cause. Vision also needed Motivo to build an economical model and verify the business case for using fuel cell and electrical powertrain in drayage application.


Motivo performed a trade study for multiple reFCEV (range extender fuel cell electric vehicle) architectures regarding technology availability, component cost, system efficiency and development risk. Motivo also outlined the fuel cell system heat management system for the cell module, and programmed and tuned the vehicle controller for powertrain control and fuel cell system control using CoDeSys and C. To further support the customer, Motivo delivered a Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) of the system architecture, along with supporting documentation.


Our client was a hybrid truck manufacturer. To prepare for a product demo they needed a full integration of their drivetrain system into a class 3 pickup truck. Due to an upcoming presentation at the White House, the client needed a seamless incorporation of the system, preserving an OEM-like feel and experience, in just 45 days.


Motivo took a donor class 3 truck chassis and devised a mounting strategy for the hybrid system and other modified components. 3D scanning enabled the design of custom drive interfaces to mate the electric drive to the existing powerplant. The power steering pump was retrofitted with an electric motor to de-couple its operation from the engine. The hybrid system had to be fully integrated to the existing CAN network, and the power steering needed to stay active in EV mode. For the electrical systems, Motivo reverse engineered the donor vehicle’s CAN bus and built new low and high voltage wiring harnesses from the ground up. The new control stalk was modified with “P, R, N, D, L” detents to preserve the OEM experience. Motivo reduced component cost by 75% by leveraging COTS components, all while meeting the original 45 day schedule.

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