Trova Commercial Vehicles
Chad Burchett

Diesel-to-electric developer TrovaCV names Burchett as new CTO

Sept. 21, 2022
The former Volvo Group executive brings extensive EV and technology experience to the custom engineering firm developing a process to convert diesel HD trucks to electric.

Custom engineering, design, and manufacturing firm Trova Commercial Vehicles named Chad Burchett its new chief technology officer. Burchett joins the company as it raises $30 million to industrialize its diesel-to-electric (D2E) driveline-conversion process for electrifying existing Classes 7-8 diesel-powered trucks. The company said its D2E process costs less than buying comparable new electric heavy-duty vehicles.

“Chad will lead all technology development for TrovaCV,” said Patrick Collignon, TrovaCV founder and CEO. “He is one of the most experienced authorities in North America on electric commercial vehicles. Chad’s innovative approach has already yielded high success rates in both electric and autonomous vehicles. His talents and expertise position him to help drive TrovaCV to greater success.”

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Burchett previously worked for Volvo Group for 23 years. While there, he advanced from product engineering positions in the OEM’s North American and Sweden-based operations to being named chief project manager/lead project manager engineering for Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) in 2018.

In that role, Burchett helped move VTNA’s cornerstone public-private LIGHTS project toward completion. His responsibilities included delivering 23 Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 contract trucks, with three different feature steps, in less than two years, as well as the 2021 and 2022 model years of the VNR Electric into serial production.

“I’m using my experience developing and introducing several model years of heavy-duty battery electric vehicles to focus TrovaCV’s efforts on full industrialization of our product lineup. Our D2E process is brilliant in that it uses the fleet’s existing truck but modifies the chassis for a fully electric driveline–carrying over all other major non-internal-combustion-engine components. This makes for very short order-to-delivery times,” Burchett said. “We’ll be able to potentially repower any brand of existing Class 8 truck, moving fleets to greener operation and lower operating costs through both powertrain efficiency and asset recovery.”

Burchett also helped Volvo and autonomous-tech firm Aurora collaborate on completing Level 2 and Level 4 autonomy requirements for Volvo Autonomous Solutions

TrovaCV has developed working D2E prototypes and the engineering process for conversions from diesel to electric. Each truck that goes through the D2E process rests on TrovaCV’s proprietary chassis. “Our chassis has several patents to allow the placement of the components within the frame rail,” Burchett said. 

Central mounting increases battery-pack durability compared to side-rail mounting and helps improve vehicle stability. It also increases the safety of the batteries and vehicles in major side-impact crashes. 

"Initially, we’re aiming for medium-volume production of up to 10,000 factory D2E conversions annually,” Burchett said. “I have no doubt that, within a few years, TrovaCV will increase production greatly, given that there are some 4.6 million Class 7-8 diesel-powered vehicles already on the road in North America." 

Burchett received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He holds six U.S. patents on truck manufacturing systems as well as additional patents pending, including for autonomous vehicle-related items.

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