It's a turn in the road for Amp Electric Vehicles. The conversion electric vehicle (EV) company announced this week that it was no longer planning on making or selling EVs based on passenger vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes-Benz ML. Instead of the SUVs, Amp will now put all of its focus into delivery trucks, like the recent conversions for Navistar and FedEx. On a conference call yesterday, CEO Steve Burns said Amp will convert medium-sized step vans from 10 miles per gallon diesel beasts into quiet electric-drive trucks. It's a good deal for fleets, Burns said, on the call, because "the surprising truth is that although an all-electric step van costs more at the beginning, on a 10-year cost basis, they are at least $100,000 cheaper than the air-polluting, climate-changing diesels that fill the roads these days."
Speaking of money, Amp got a $7.5 million commitment from Kodiak Capital Group last month. That's much better than the $107,000 worth of sales it had in the quarter ending June 30 while racking up expenses of $2.5 million. Today, Burns told AutoblogGreen:
The Icelandic and Caribbean deals were to put thousands of electric SUVs into those islands. We'll see how the projects move forward from here.
We essentially have just put passenger vehicles on hold until we see a bit more demand. However, as one caller asked during the Q&A, we are still hoping to send EVs to Iceland and Caribbean, but probably as conversions. The bar to be a new vehicle OEM is pretty high and we are having a hard time justifying the capital required until demand picks up.
Conversely, the Navistar deal produced such a great E-Truck that we have seen tremendous interest and are therefore pursuing that avenue for now. Our heart is still very much tied to EV passenger vehicles, but for now, the business side of the brain will have to win over the heart.