There are two ways to get an electric vehicle [EV], buy an EV, or convert your existing vehicle’s drive-train. A leading company in vehicle conversions, based in Ohio, US, AMP Electric Vehicles, has been supplying the latter for the last couple of years.
“Business is business,” however, and converting vehicles like the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee for private parties has not been paying the bills. True the AMP’d Cherokee is an excellent vehicle, with everything that you expect of a high-end SUV, and none of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with internal combustion engines. For the same reasons that EVs still have made it to the mainstream, AMP’d vehicles just might suffer the same fate, unless AMP adapts.
In order to survive, AMP Electric Vehicles has done exactly that, adapt to the market. Private EV sales are still slack enough to force some companies to reconsider their EV offerings, such as Toyota’s iQ EV being released only to fleets and car-sharing programs, or forcing a premier battery supplier A123 Systems into bankruptcy.
AMP-converted vehicles are still looking good to fleet owners, who can afford the high up-front costs to make gains on the fuel-savings side of the equation. AMP’s new business strategy lies in fleet conversions, such as FedEx trucks, which drive the same routes every day and rarely over 100 miles. AMP claims that over a ten-year service life, companies could save $100,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per vehicle.
If a $7.5 million Kodiak Group commitment comes through, AMP Electric Vehicles could be set up for supplying AMP-converted fleet vehicles as far as the Caribbean and Iceland. They’ll have competition from more established companies, such as Smith Electric Vehicles and Navistar, but they seem to be on the right track to keep themselves afloat in a slacking EV market.