SOMERVILLE, MA - A Somerville start-up, founded by an MIT lecturer and two alumni, has raised $1.8 million to convert fleet vehicles that run on fossil fuels into electric hybrids, according to the Boston Globe.

Part of that financing comes from the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, a private venture group that awarded $300,000 this week to the company, XL Hybrids Inc.

According to the company Web site, XL hybrid systems offer "a low-risk way to reduce fuel use, cut costs, and slash emissions without impacting operations."

Cofounder Justin Ashton said XL is lining up tests with customers and hopes to start production this year, beginning with conversions of livery cars. The company hopes to be retrofitting delivery trucks and shuttle vans by mid-2011, he told the Globe.

Its 175-lb. system includes an electric motor, lithium ion batteries, and controls, Ashton said, and can be installed in less than four hours for under $10,000, the Globe reported.

Ashton estimated the system could save livery cars, typically driven 60,000 to 80,000 miles a year, 15-30 percent of their annual fuel consumption, reported the Globe.

Click here to read the full Boston Globe story.


Originally posted on Automotive Fleet