Amp Electric Vehicles, a converter of production internal combustion (ICE) drivetrain vehicles to all-electric, announced on last week it is icing consumer-level vehicle production in order to focus on its electric fleet vehicle operations.
Amp said it will now hold off production of its AMP Jeep, a Jeep Grand Cherokee converted to run on a 37.6-kwh lithium iron phosphate battery powering two rear-mounted 152-kw Remy AC motors, and its AMP MLE, a Mercedes SUV converted to use a 40-kwh lithium iron phosphate battery powering two Remy AC motors rated at 164 kw.
Stephen Burns, CEO of AMP Holding Inc., explained to investors via conference call the decision, saying that, “it became apparent that the short-term market for passenger car EV’s did not grow as quickly as forecasters had predicted.” He went on to say that, “ushering in a new transportation fuel to replace a very ingrained petroleum based world has proven slower than expected, especially in the passenger vehicle marketplace.”
Burns said that the best sector for Amp to redirect its efforts toward is the commercial truck fleet market. “We firmly believe that there are pockets of our transportation sector that will leave petroleum much earlier than others and are well suited for electric power,” he said during the presentation.
Specifically, Amp will target medium-size fleet trucks (up to 20,000 pounds) employed for use in predictable driving routes and conditions that involve driving less than 100 miles per day. Burns cited trucks – also known as step vans – used by UPS and FedEx as examples.
Caption: Amp acknowledges the high cost of an electric conversion vehicle in the beginning, but says that over a 10-year period a converted fleet truck will save as much as $100,000 per truck in operation when compared to running a diesel-powered truck.
Highlighting poor fuel economy for diesel versions, Burns said in the call that payback on electric modification is usually in the three to four year range.
“Typically, companies keep a truck for over 10 years so a fleet manager understands that the long term economics of electric power make sense.”
In support of the announcement to move primarily to fleet vehicles, Burns noted Amp’s recent development contract with Navistar (formerly International Harvester).
Navistar has provided Amp with two vehicles for “re-powering” and testing, and burns said as of August 30 Navistar reported that “the 19,500 lb truck passed initial testing, and the main parameter of 100 miles on a charge was achieved.” He went on to say that the Amp expects to complete conversion of and continue testing of the second vehicle by year’s end.
Amp Electric Vehicles, Inc., like start ups Tesla and Fisker, has seen considerable success in terms of deploying its technologies, but just like those companies Amp continues to operate in the red. At the end of Q3 Amp posted sales of $107,000 but had expenses of $2.5 million.
However, unlike Fisker and Tesla, Amp has stayed off of the federal government’s checkbook register.
“AMP has not taken any government funding,” Burns said during the investor meeting. “Our methodology in both passenger vehicles and now commercial trucks is to utilize proven, mass produced parts wherever possible but keep our software in house as well as critical expertise in areas of motor and battery control.”