• Apr 7th 2010 at 11:57AM
  • 28
Amp Equinox – Click above for high-res image gallery

AMP's all-electric conversion of the Chevrolet Equinox was on hand at the New York Auto Show, and we got the chance to squeal the tires just a little bit while we were in town. We can't give a full report on how the CUV drives – the indoor track was a whole 500 or so feet long – but we can say that the Equinox, like AMP's first conversion, the Saturn Sky, has a lot of potential for people looking for an all-electric vehicle. AMP doesn't have everything totally figured out quite yet, but the company's strategy to leverage the work General Motors did in developing the Equinox into an affordable electric vehicle (EV) is on the right track.

Like with the Sky, the Equinox's electric motors are quite loud. Thankfully, they're also quite powerful, as we found out on the short straightaway on the EV Pavilion at the show. These are motors from Remy International, which AMP also uses in the Sky. AMP president Steve Burns has called the Remy's HVH250TM electric motors, "simply the best on the market today." When used in the Equinox, where AMP spent some time evenly balancing the weight of the all-electric powertrain, the motors add to the vehicle's solid driving feel, and we imagine taking the CUV for a real drive would be quite pleasurable. We'll have to wait and see if this is true.

The AMP'd Equinox will be available this summer fro $50,000 (after government incentives). The CUV has a range of up to 150 miles per charge and a top speed of 90 miles per hour. It can hit 60 mph in about eight seconds, AMP says, and we look forward to trying this for ourselves some day.


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Live photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it 50k all inclusive or it is 50k to convert an ICE to Electric???
        • 5 Years Ago
        All-inclusive. Actually, it's around $57,500 and you should be able to get $7500 back from the feds
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree that "it's a market segment that will have to be served eventually".

      EVs have a better chance at "penetrating" the market from small cars however. Since batteries ARE heavy, in order to get decent range, a small car is the way to start.

      But since the trend is showing that batteries are getting lighter for the same energy content (more wh/kg), SUVs will get there. But I didn't think it would be soon. But I will be hopeful.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Inefficient and energy guzzling it may be. It may not represent the way a lot of people want the world to go but this is the "real world". I don't care how green it is I will never ride a bike to work. End of discussion. I would be ok with a car as small as a Think. However in the real world there are many who would not. You have a choice would you rather have people drive an electric SUV or a gas SUV. I stopped looking a log time ago for the "life is fair" banner hanging in the sky. Finally, to be totally honest, while I would settle for a Think. If I had the money and could get a 150 mile range SUV I would say where do I sign.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And why should I care if my EV uses 333Wh per mile? It's still many times more efficient than a fossil burner SUV.

        1 gallon of gas = 33kWh
        MPG of SUV is < 25 usually (22 for pickup trucks)

        That's 33kWh for 25 miles or 25/33 per mile or 1.32kWh per mile or 1320Wh per mile.

        Do you still care that the electric SUV uses 333? I know I don't. And those 333 are domestic source versus the 1320 fossil equivalent are mostly foreign source.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would be surprised if this uses less than 333 Wh per mile (3 miles/kWh), so the battery must be in the range of 50 kWh, same as the Tesla.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree, ECFan. The majority of pickup and SUV buyers are not going to buy a microcar just because it saves them a ton on gas expense. There are many very valid reasons why they want a truck. So why not give them one that runs on electrons. Many top line pickups cost around $50k anyway so why not?

        The AMP Equinox could take a big chunk of that segment if they would ramp up their production and bring costs down. Advertise the crap out of it! Oh, and make an SUT version.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Have they managed to ship a Saturn Sky conversion yet?
      • 5 Years Ago
      An electric SUV!? How stupid. Instead of a gas guzzler we now have electron guzzlers! This is a stupid demonstration going exactly the opposite way we should be going. All my complaints about a huge inefficient, heavy vehicle is two-fold here. This does not impress me. This does not fit any market and if there is one then some stupid idiot spent thier money in a bad way!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not everyone wants to drive a tiny supermiler, and some people transport more than 1-2 people around. What type of vehicle would you prefer that is capable of carrying 5 people comfortably plus luggage, which is what approx 45-50% of the auto consumers want?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, we do need smaller vehicles and they should be encouraged. But in a "free" country, try telling people they can't drive an SUV. There need to be other creative ways to discourage people from commuting to work everyday in an SUV.

        Alternatively you could convert your used gasoline car to electric and save the world from the pollution and energy of manufacturing new cars. There are tons of perfectly fine chassis out there that would make great electric cars.

        Which leads to the other problem we face in this country. People want NEW cars so they can be trendy. What's wrong with an old car? You can install latest technology and besides the technology in a conversion in not much different from that of a high performance Tesla. Motor/controller/batteries. Just different specs. Everything else is an accessory. I'm installing a car-puter in mine so I will have a luxurious experience in a '69 Datsun.

        -Naiche
        Please support electric cars by voting EVERY SINGLE DAY for Project ReinCARnate on Pepsi Refresh.
        http://www.refresheverything.com/reincarnate
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jason,
        "Not everyone wants to drive a tiny supermiler, and some people transport more than 1-2 people around. What type of vehicle would you prefer that is capable of carrying 5 people comfortably plus luggage, which is what approx 45-50% of the auto consumers want?"

        There is a huge range of cars that seat 5 plus luggage, starting with compact hatchbacks let alone the mid-size Prius, before you get to tall fat ugly 3770 pound SUVs.

        Sure it's a free country, but how obese and out of shape must you be to want a car that's also fat and out of shape?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Michael,

        People use SUVs to carry stuff. Believe it or not. I love my SUV for that fact alone. My family's next car will be electric, but I need something with plenty of room for my lanky legs. My wife is tall too and I imagine our kids will be also. I feel much safer putting my family in an SUV rather than a tin can sized car. Throw in a lab and crap load of bags from the grocery or going to the airport, and I'll never buy anything but an SUV or other large vehicle.

        Also, for the aging population, it's a lot easier to "walk" into an elevated SUV seat rather than squat down and crawl into a sedan when you have arthritis. My grandpa replaced his Lincoln Town Car with a Jeep Cherokee for that very reason.

        Amp and Tesla, bring on the electric SUVs and vans. I am your market.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My whole point is that if you are going to make a car big and efficient you don't start with a heavy platform then green wash it with batteries. We need to design from ground up what a larger electric vehicle should be. This IS our chance as Americans to lead the world in the direction we need to take. This is the same GM I have complained about my whole life. GM design policy from the 1980's has always been: " Lets add some more plastic to make it look fast and lets build larger less efficent engines to get more power, lets add more gizmos and flashing lights so we can ignor the lack of quality and lets follow other companies advancement and be 4 years behind everyone else, and lets spend billions fighting EPA emmissions and efficiency requirements".

        I have heard a rough estimate that more than 90% of SUV's never see the off road. That is pathetic! It just proves that SUV buyers are just trying to look cool. I live in snow country where I can see you need one but, I don't have one ( got rid of it years ago) and now I am getting around in a front wheel drive car and never have problems. I am not blaming buyers completely because for most cars that size your only choice is a gas guzzler but, at the same time your brainwashed to think you need it. There are better choices but, you must choose them. All energy prices are going up, no denying. Whether it is a gas guzzler or an electron guzzler you will be sorry for choosing a guzzler.
        • 5 Years Ago
        On the contrary i think this i brilliant. People (especially American people) do not want to compromise. It's obvious that the world can not operate without heavy vehicles, especially when you consider that there are actually people who need to haul stuff around.

        So if we need to build heavy vehicles anyways, then why not let some idiot find out first how the weight and lack of aerodynamics will break down the car first. That way, the people who need these vehicles won't suffer.

        And when you look at the science of it, the motor is still significantly more efficient than an ICE in all regards. The only thing that is changing for this motor is the shell that they put it in.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, it is less than ideal, but on the other hand, it is unlikely to be abruptly discontinued, the way the first AMP conversion (Pontiac Sky) was.

        I see it as yet another variation in the plug-in market, filling almost every market niche with an efficient EV or PHEV drivetrain. There will be plenty of high efficiency plug-ins from other manufacturers, there is a place for this "not quite as efficient, but still better than a gasser" vehicle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But your point is moot because the Equinox isn't some big heavy vehicle, its a 3770 pound CUV that gets 22C/32H in FWD 4cyl guise. It's essentially a full size hatchback.
        It has Class leading fuel economy and an above average reliability record.

        The Equinox is in no way shape or form a "guzzler" but you'd rather call it that and stick your head in the sand because it's a GM vehicle.

        • 5 Years Ago
        It seems like the perfect "american" vehicle for "green" politicians to drive around washington dc so they can avoid taking public transportation and mingling with common folk.

        The equinox is manufactured in ontario, canada, but amp is based in ohio and remy is based in indiana, so they can still say they are supporting american jobs!

        It is a shame they didn't start with a lighter and more aerodynamic donor vehicle, but the equinox is about the most efficient non-hybrid suv in production:
        2010 vue fwd 4 cyl, 2.4 L, 4-spd auto: 19/26
        • 5 Years Ago
        How is a car that has a longer range than the leaf "out of shape'?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I get a vaporware feel from amp
      • 5 Years Ago
      For that price, I could see a lot of takers. If it truly has a 150 mile range in actual use, there are plenty of people who currently buy $50,000 SUVs who might be persuaded to give it a try.

      Alas, there are comparatively few people who buy $50,000 cars... hence the choice of target vehicle?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree Richard, if they are able to get this offered, there will be people who will buy it. It must have one heck of a battery pack to drag that thing 150 miles. ;-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      With the current financial situation I think that poverty is likely to cure the obsession with SUVs
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like the loud electric motors. It makes a statement ..."hey I'm driving a high-tech EV!"
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think one of the commentary's fails to realize that this is not a GM comapany. This is a third party company converting the Equinox to all Electric. Don't blame GM for an aero inefficiencies that an electric vehicle should have since this wasn't designed to be one. Most of these conversion companies will never design from the ground up due to the high costs. It would 100's of millions if not a billion dollars to design everything from the ground up and then you probably won't make any money of the first generation. Look at Tesla for example. Going green is expensive and not a big money maker at this point.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So true. Even if AMP went with one of the kit car makers for their rolling platform it would be no cheaper (google it if you're curious).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Like it or not, it's a market segment that will have to be served eventually.

      Most people still think any electric vehicle will be a tiny two seater urban car, so seeing a usable electric SUV on the roads will probably change a lot of peoples' perceptions about electric vehicles and spur demand. People will go to GM/Ford and ask them why aren't you offering these to us? That all, of course, depends on how this thing shakes down. I wouldn't pin a lot on it until seeing a real world road test and the resulting range numbers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's another reason to make all pickup trucks and SUVs run on electrons and not fossil sources:

      "Gasoline Fumes May Fuel Road Rage"
      source: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/11/gasoline-fumes-road-rage/

      Every time I'm on the road I can smell pure gas coming out in somebodies exhaust. No wonder Dallas was selected the #2 "angriest drivers in America." NYC being first but that's gotta be the traffic hassles. Here we have very few traffic jams but still very angry drivers. It makes one think.
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