Ashwoods Energy, a spin off company to Ashwoods Automotive who produce the UK’s best-selling hybrid van (the Ashwoods Hybrid Transit) has already won its first major award.

The Ashwoods Hybrid Transit fleet for the Environment Agency7 427x225

Ashwoods Automotive is harnessing its unique expertise in batteries and battery management systems (BMS) to spin out Ashwoods Energy, as a supplier to other electric and hybrid vehicle producers.

On 1st February, this business plan was resoundingly endorsed when Ashwoods Energy won the regional finals of the Shell Springboard awards – along with £30,000 in start-up funding.

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Mark Roberts, Managing Director of Ashwoods Automotive told Tachoblog,  “The lithium-ion batteries in our Ashwoods Hybrid Transit are constantly storing and releasing energy, so they have to be extremely robust and must be micro-managed to ensure maximum efficiency.

“We trialled countless battery management systems, but none of them matched our expectations, so in the end we developed our own. The result is an extremely effective and highly marketable technology, supported by our 750,000 road miles of data.

Ashwoods Hybrid Drive is a simple yet highly efficient system7 427x257

“The Shell Springboard award is a fantastic endorsement of our new business and will help us give Ashwoods Energy a flying start. We are already engaged in trials with four major battery companies and are confident our system will add value to their products.”

Established to promote innovative UK small businesses with compelling ideas to combat climate change, the Shell Springboard programme has awarded over £1.6 million in grant funding to 43 UK companies since its launch in 2005. Ashwoods, based in Pinhoe, near Exeter, won the regional final and now moves forward to the national final, which take place later this month (FEB).

Martin hopes Ashwoods Energy will replicate the success of Ashwoods Automotive, which grew turnover by almost 1,000% in just three years, as it developed the market for its hybrid van system, Ashwoods Hybrid Drive. This stellar growth was recently recognised in the Cleantech Connect 2010 awards, where Ashwoods was named as the fastest growing clean technology company in Europe.

Ashwoods Hybrid Drive can be fitted to any RWD Ford Transit van in less than four hours. The technology recovers the kinetic energy usually wasted through braking or deceleration. A 72v lithium-ion battery stores the recovered energy and a high efficiency electric motor delivers it to the wheels. This delivers an instant reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 15-20%, depending on the vehicle’s drive cycle.

Ashwoods Hybrid Drive was highly commended in the Energy Saving Trust Fleet Hero Awards 2010 and won the Technology award at the 2010 Van Fleet World Honours.

Ashwoods is the single largest supplier to the UK Government’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme, delivering more than 120 hybrid vans to public sector bodies including the Royal Mail and Transport for London.

As well as producing hybrid vans and a hybrid retro-fit solution, Ashwoods also produces other highly cost-effective technologies for improving vehicle fuel consumption, including Ashwoods EcoDrive and Ashwoods Stop/Start engine system.

The company recently signed a US distribution deal and is seeking other partners to market its technology worldwide.

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