AUSA 2015

Heading into the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) Global Force Symposium and Exposition last week in Huntsville, Alabama, I had no idea what to really expect from the event this year. This was my seventh AUSA, spread amongst three different locales, and I still have several stacks of business cards in my office from these events from years past, and the days of MRAP.

While normally at conferences such as this, I am prepared to offer published data to answer questions regarding Achates Power technology, but this time we were able to offer additional validation – the announcement of our $14 million dollar military engine project. Continue reading

Achates Power Wins $14 Million Military Engine Project

Achates Power is pleased to announce today that we have been awarded a $14 million project by the National Advanced Mobility Consortium to support research and development work of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The project, the Single Cylinder Advanced Combat Engine Technology Demonstrator, is part of the Army’s 30 year strategy to modernize tactical and combat vehicles. This new project builds upon the technological advancements and proven results we delivered during our previous TARDEC project in 2012 for the design and construction of the Next-Generation Combat Engine.

We are also excited to announce that we have partnered with Cummins Inc. for this new chapter of modernizing the Army’s combat vehicles. The end goal is to deliver a product that improves the mobility and performance of combat vehicles. Continue reading

The Problem With Batteries

Our recent blog post compared the environment, economic, and convenience benefits of a very clean, very efficient internal combustion engine with an electric vehicle.  This post dives into more detail about the problems of using battery to store energy, particularly for transportation.

In short, batteries are very big, heavy, and expensive compared to gasoline (or diesel, or methanol or biodiesel, or ethanol or other liquid hydrocarbons ) stored in a typical automotive fuel tank.

The article, Has the Battery Bubble Burst, by Fred Schlachter of the American Physical Society sums up the problem: Continue reading

2015: A Look Ahead

2014 was a phenomenal year for Achates Power.  To support the increased market demand for our technology, as evidenced by a 300% increase in revenue and customer base that grew by 3x, we hired more great new team members and added office space.  Within last year we accumulated more than 1,000 dyno hours of testing, now surpassing 6,000 hours total, and presented our test  results at 11 industry-specific conferences around the globe, including SAE World Congress, SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress and the International Engine Congress.  We also secured six new U.S. patents and 13 new foreign patents, bringing our patent portfolio to over 1,800 unique innovations, 71 global patents and an additional 103 pending applications.
But we’re not stopping, nor slowing down.  We’re accelerating.  We remain steadfast in our goal of bringing to market the world’s most efficient engines, engines  that enable a cost-effective and sustainable future.  As we jump into 2015 we are already continuing to build on our strong growth results from 2014. Just twenty days into the new year and we’ve expanded our customer base by another step and our revenues continue to increase. Continue reading

Are Electric Vehicles the next bubble?

The 1841 book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay, describes a variety manias and bubbles throughout history and is still considered by many to be important in the study of social psychology and psychopathology.  Will a future edition include a chapter on electric cars? Will Telsa’s peak market capitalization of over $37 billion (as of 9/12/2014) be compared to the peak of the Dutch tulip mania, where a single tulip bulb sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled carpenter

“We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.” – Charles Mackay


In a recent speech at the North American International Auto Show, Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended electric cars, saying, “electric motors were ‘fundamentally’ better than gasoline engines in terms of efficiency.” I am not sure what Mr. Musk meant, but let’s look at some figures. Continue reading

The Achates Power Engine: A Game Changer for the Truck Industry?

As Americans are finding out that modern diesel engines are among the cleanest and most sustainable propulsion systems available in the market today, diesel engines are gaining momentum in the US.  In Europe more than 50% of passenger cars and almost 100% of light commercial vehicles are powered by state-of-the-art clean, diesel engines.  As the US press and customers start to understand the diesel engine’s advantage of delivering a great driving experience combined with outstanding fuel economy, automakers are expecting a significant rise in sales for diesel powered vehicles. Continue reading

What Makes A “Best Competitor” in the Green Car Space?

Yesterday, The Green Car Reports, published an article called “Plug-In Hybrids Are The Best Competitors To Fuel-Cell Vehicles: Here’s Why.” This immediately grabbed my attention and the article made some interesting points, but also got me thinking. What is the true definition of  “Best Competitors” in this space?

The Green Car Reports article seems to focus on vehicles that are easier to use (long driving range between refueling stops and short refueling stops at refueling stations that are already available), so it takes a functional view of the products on offer or that will be offered, but it doesn’t take into account cost, price or any other financial/economic measure.  That’s missing the mark (at least in the real world). Continue reading

Diesel: The Alternative Fuel

In an age where the national news is dominated by reports on rising fuel costs and greenhouse gas regulations, consumers are aware of the different alternative fuels that promise to save money at the pump and reduce tailpipe emissions.  These fuels—such as natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen—are designed to decrease the carbon footprint of vehicles; market penetration, however, has been slower than expected. Ultimately, a significant reduction in fuel costs and carbon emissions will not be realized by a new fuel type alone, but rather by a better internal combustion engine that substantially increases the efficiency of our vehicles. Continue reading

Advanced Combustion and the Achates Power Engine

Last month, I had the opportunity to organize and co-chair a technical session at SAE World Congress on efficiency and emissions in compression-ignition combustion. In my session as well as several others, there were a number of papers focused on advanced combustion concepts aimed at simultaneously controlling emissions and improving engine efficiency. This is not surprising as we head towards CAFE regulations for on-highway applications and, likewise, strict emissions standards for industrial power generation and marine applications. At this year’s World Congress as well as over the past few years, there has been a surge in the R&D activity of universities, research institutes and OEMs to accelerate the evaluation and development of advanced combustion regimes. Continue reading

Revolutionizing Vehicle Transportation

Last week, I had the privilege of presenting our light-duty diesel engine’s latest performance and emissions results at the SAE High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium and SAE World Congress. It’s always an honor to share our work with automotive executives, analysts, academics and engineers. And, it’s even more meaningful when those same individuals realize the potential our engine has to revolutionize passenger and commercial vehicle transportation. Continue reading