A Vehicle Thermal Management System (VTMS) that saves weight and optimises driving range for electric buses, commercial vehicles and off highway applications is marking its first year in production in style.
Grayson Thermal Systems’ revolutionary VTMS combines battery thermal management and heat pump and air conditioning technology into one single system that helps the end-user save costs and space.
The technology, which took over two years to develop at the firm’s R&D hubs in Birmingham and Czech Republic, can also incorporate waste heat recycling and electric motor cooling to deliver the complete solution.
Two types have been launched recently, firstly the model for double-deck electric buses and secondly a model for commercial vehicles that is also suitable for the off-highway sector.
With the demand for cleaner transport increasing exponentially, management at the company believe the Vehicle Thermal Management System for electric double-deck buses could generate over £15m of sales by the end of 2023 and more than £25m by 2025.
In order to take advantage of commercial volumes starting to grow from 2024 onwards, Graysons is investing heavily in its UK manufacturing and build capability, and this will lead to the creation of tens of jobs locally.
“The beauty of our VTMS is that it brings all of our proven battery thermal management and heat pump technology for zero emission vehicles together in one neatly packaged system,” explained Matthew Hateley, European Sales Manager at Grayson Thermal Systems.
“Our unique software platform and clever control logic allows component sharing for different uses meaning a smaller and lighter solution, whilst our technical team have also come up with a unique way to recycle waste energy back into the system – helping the battery conserve power whilst, at the same time, delivering optimum heating and air conditioning performance.”
He went on to add: “The commercial vehicle platform has been designed in a modular way so the OEM can build-in the technical features they want based on system performance requirements, cost and weight targets.”
Wrightbus, a world-leader in hydrogen and electric technology for the transport sector, became the first company to integrate the Grayson Vehicle Thermal Management System into parts of its fleet last year, a decision that has helped the StreetDeck Electroliner to officially become the most efficient double-deck battery-electric bus in the world.
Official assessments undertaken at UTAC – using the ZEMO-accredited Ultra Low Emission Bus (ULEB) test – showed that the bus achieved a result of 0.68 kWh/km.
This is around half the energy consumed by its closest BEV double-deck UK rival and a major contributing factor to this impressive result was the low energy consumption of the Grayson VTMS to achieve the HVAC requirements and maintain battery temperatures during the test.
Matthew continued to say: “We set a high expectation for what we wanted to achieve in terms of weight and energy efficiency savings, so to accomplish the test results we have gives us a high level of confidence that our technology will change the requirements of electric vehicle HVAC forever.
“More than two years after setting out our strategic goals, its fantastic to see our Vehicle Thermal Management System on the roads in and around the UK.”
Ian Gillott, Managing Director at Wrightbus, said: “We are pleased to have integrated the Grayson Vehicle Thermal Management System into part of our fleet. This has resulted in our StreetDeck Electroliner becoming the most efficient double-deck battery-electric bus in the world – something we are immensely proud of.
“Thermal management is critical to vehicle efficiency and the partnership between Grayson and Wrightbus has allowed us to fully optimise this. Being a leader in the zero-emissions transport industry, it is pleasing for us that Grayson is doing all it can to further enhance our vehicles’ performance and green credentials.”
Matthew went on to add: “We are now into the next stage of the development to further improve our product to optimise the performance and green credentials of electric vehicles whilst meeting new legislation coming into effect in 2024.
“The VTMS is the latest system we have introduced to our product range, and we’re delighted to have played a small, but important role in the StreetDeck Electroliner being named as the world’s most efficient double-deck battery-electric bus.
“Both firms share a passion for innovation and that will only continue as we aim to deliver greener transport solutions for the sector.”
Grayson Thermal Systems has worked hard to ensure the VTMS is extremely versatile as it embarks on the next set of customer programmes to productionise its platform for the commercial vehicle sector, including HGVs (up to 28 tonnes), refuse collection and off-highway vehicles destined for mining and construction.