The 90 Day Wonder - The FAST Bus
In 2004, DESCH principals were working with TransTeq to exploit and commercialize the successful series HEV technologies first deployed on the Denver Mall shuttles.
In the interest of expanding potential markets for all involved, partners in the about-to-be-launched project arranged a conference call between representatives from Ford, American Axle and Manufacturing, Supreme Industries, TransTeq, and their motor supplier. In a one hour call, the F-A-S-T project was born.
With a once weekly conference call and contributions from each in the form of their latest technology, the project partners were charged with producing a working, demonstrable series HEV on a cutaway bus chassis - in less than 90 days of the introductory call.
Ford supplied a propane fueled downsized genset engine. American Axle supplied a more efficient rear axle assembly. Supreme supplied a Ford chassis and bus body, and TransTeq, DESCH and the motor supplier completed all the power train integration, supplying motors, inverters, batteries, and supervisory controls. Long days and determination helped the team achieve the goal ahead of schedule.
The project was a success and was shown nationwide, with several technological upgrades added over the next year. The vehicle was one of the very first commercial demonstration of "plug-in" HEV technology with engine off operation, switchable by switch, geofencing, or SOC levels, a patent sourced from the EcoMark. By 2006, DESCH principals had also integrated into the vehicle quite possibly the first application of Lithium Ion battery packs on a vehicle in North America, in an early partnership with Kokam Battery.