Energy-efficient drive specialist Torotrak Plc has agreed a further stage of investment and development with Allison Transmission Inc., the multinational manufacturer of commercial vehicle transmissions. This increases the value to Torotrak in initial licensing and engineering consultancy by £8m to £17.6m and takes Torotrak’s innovative technology closer to production.
Torotrak’s gearless traction drive technology has shown that fuel savings in excess of 10 percent are achievable in trucks and buses. In urban applications where there is a high proportion of stop-and-go driving, the savings are even greater.
Torotrak Chief Executive Dick Elsy said: “This agreement with Allison to develop a production-ready design is a big step towards putting Torotrak’s technology into vehicles where it can realise significant fuel savings and emissions reductions for industry. With fuel savings of 10 percent accessible, our partners recognise the enormous value for truck and bus operators that Torotrak’s technology enables.”
“Rising fuel prices and increasing emissions regulation have created a compelling case and hence a growing demand for Torotrak’s clean technology,” said Jeremy Deering, Torotrak’s Commercial Director. “Our shareholders have been tenacious in backing Torotrak’s substantial investment in research, development and validation, allowing our technology to mature and to become implementation-ready across a wide range of applications seeking emissions reductions. We are seeing a serious shift in approach from forward-looking industry players who are ready to break from conventional thinking. It is encouraging to see this willingness to invest in next-generation technology that delivers fundamental engineering change to tackle CO2 reduction, rather than short term ‘quick fixes’ that simply postpone the investment that will, in time, become inevitable.”
There has been a marked increase in interest in Torotrak’s technology in recent months after the company revealed its involvement in a number of projects and programmes. Besides its work on commercial vehicle transmissions, the company is developing scaled-down versions of its technology for superchargers and KERS (kinetic energy recovery systems), a battery-free, more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to electric hybrids. All use Torotrak’s gearless traction drive technology to make vehicles more fuel-efficient.
Torotrak is also involved in research consortia that involve leading UK engineers from Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Ricardo and bus maker Optare. The company’s licence partners include Tata Motors, an unnamed European truck and bus manufacturer and a joint venture with European supercharger manufacturer Rotrex.