Ikea invests in hybrid-vehicle builder XL Hybrids

XL Hybrids carved its niche in the vehicle-electrfication segment by offering hybrid conversion kits for regular gasoline-powered vans, commercial trucks, and pickups.

Thus far, the Boston-based start-up has found success and a recent round of venture capital funding raised another $22 million.

Notably, Swedish furniture company Ikea Group invested in the hybrid-vehicle maker, though the total amount is unknown.

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Ikea sees potential in XL Hybrids, which has already sold its hybrid kits to Coca-Cola and California utility San Diego Gas & Electric.

The new funds will help reduce costs and increase demand for its hybrid-truck designs.

Since the company’s inception, XL Hybrids has raised $50 million in venture capital and recently added plug-in hybrid vehicles to its portfolio of products.

Coca-Cola Chevrolet Express van with XL Hybrids conversion

Coca-Cola Chevrolet Express van with XL Hybrids conversion

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The bulk of the company’s business remains the hybrid system conversions, however.

XL Hybrids sells a kit that allows fleet buyers to “upfit” their vehicles into hybrids.

One of the company’s greatest selling points is the fact it leaves the original internal-combustion engine, transmission, fuel system, and exhaust intact—the selected vehicle’s original powertrain warranty remains even after the hybrid kit’s installation.

READ THIS: XL Hybrids gets big order for pickup truck plug-in hybrid ‘upfit’

At its core, the hybrid system adds an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery, which XL Hybrids says provides “over 10 kilowatt-hours” of capacity and includes regenerative braking capability.

Recharging the onboard battery takes less than one hour with a 240-volt AC Level 2, though it’s unclear how far the system can power a vehicle on pure electric power.

Despite adding 650 pounds to the vehicle’s overall weight, the company asserts fuel consumption drops by up to 50 percent.

Clearly, the solution works; XL Hybrids wants to increase production from 1,000 units per year to 10,000 units.

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The company’s range of products fit box trucks, commercial vans, shuttles, and most recently, half-ton pickup trucks.

Deliveries of the hybrid trucks, in particular, will ship out in the fourth quarter of this year; San Diego Gas & Electric signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase up to 110 plug-in hybrid pickup trucks from XL Hybrids between 2017 and 2020.

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