Echo Automotive, Inc., a start-up company that converts fleet vehicles to hybrids and plug-in hybrids, has announced an impressive Technical Advisory Board. Plug-in electric vehicle expert Chelsea Sexton and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk are two of the seven board members who met in early December to discuss the company's initial product, EchoDrive.

During the retreat in early December at the company's technical center in Indiana, board members discussed the company corporate strategy. EchoDrive will be marketed as a solution for aftermarket installation of an electric assist system for a fleet's existing gasoline-engine small-to-mid-sized vehicles, such as Ford E-250 vans and F-150 pickup trucks.

The advisory board also consists of:
  • John Formissano, former vice president, global vehicles at FedEx Express
  • Mike Rowland, director of advanced customer technologies for Duke Energy
  • Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network and previous policy director for economic development, workforce and energy for the Governor's Office of Indiana
  • Robert Sexton, former southwest regional service manager at Tesla Motors, Inc.
  • Bill Wylam, former director at Delco Remy and chief engineer at Delphi, and member of US Department of Energy Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee
Chelsea Sexton, co-founder of EV advocacy group Plug In America, has served on her share of advisory groups. Along with the Chevrolet Volt customer advisory group, Sexton has played a key role in helping Nissan address its Leaf battery degradation scandal.

Speaking of plug-in hybrid electric pickups used by fleets, Echo Automotive has taken on a similar game plan as newly-started Via Motors. This extended range vehicle maker is working closely with automotive industry icon, and Volt champion, Bob Lutz. Amp Electric Vehicles, too, is now focusing on converting big delivery trucks.