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:

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
.

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.


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  • 21 Comments
      Vlad
      • 2 Years Ago
      EVs are such a no-brainer for delivery vehicles, especially in urban areas.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds like a smart move to me. Why don't they convert a USPS mail truck while they are at it as a loss leader (and tax write-off)? It would get some good publicity, data, and their name out there. Just give a few to a local post office with a basic route, install a charger someplace they can get lunch if they need to (just put a sign saying that the charger is for post office use weekdays between 11:30-1:30.)
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        The post office is currently conducting their own EV testing program. Not much written about it here on ABG recently... http://avt.inel.gov/fsev.shtml http://avt.inel.gov/pdf/fsev/usps/USPS_SummaryReportMar11-Dec11.pdf
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          You would think that AMP would 'donate' a few conversions for San Fran, LA, and Portland at least. They have to get the postmen to see that they work, and can do the job day after day even better than the gas trucks.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          La Poste has an order for 10,000 electric vehicles being filled, rather more than a trial! 'Renault has won the first lot of a call for bids for electric vehicles in France initiated by French public authorities and organized by the public procurement organization UGAP (l’Union des groupements d’achats publics). A total of 15,637 Kangoo Z.E. (earlier post) electric light commercial vans will be ordered over a 4-year period by 19 of France’s largest companies taking part in the call for bids, including 10,000 for La Poste, 1,500 for ERDF, 1,200 for UGAP, 510 for Veolia Environnement, 450 for GDF-Suez and 330 for Spie. ' http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/10/ugap-20111028.html Viva la France!
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Post offices have their own parking lots for fleet vehicles.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          I think that depends on the route. Considering the size of a typical zip code, they probably could.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          But the mail trucks don't always come back to the main office for a long period during the day do they?
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, AMP never delivered a single Jeep or Mercedes conversion...
      pmpjunkie01
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mercedes and Renault have figured that one out a while ago and once ModelX shows up they can kiss their SUV ambitions goodbye. I'm surprised they are still getting investors all AMPed up.
        pmpjunkie01
        • 2 Years Ago
        @pmpjunkie01
        BTW. the dash still shows a gas pump on what I have to presume is their charge indicator along with an "ESP inactive warning and the check engine light is on. Sorry to be so negative on them, but one would hope they would have addressed this in the last couple years they've supposedly been working on this.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seeing occasional EV box trucks now, good use of fleet usage. Given that these drive 4-5 hrs between recharges at fleet HQ, and have a mandated freeway top speed of only 55-65 mph, but spend most of their time at city speeds of 25-45 mph (or stopped for loading), EV really is the smart call. Funny thing, they're largely invisible because all box trucks look about the same.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe Iceland realized that electrifying very inefficient vehicles doesn't add up.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        @ Giza Plateau Oh dear, you just don't think before you post do you? Iceland is a nation uniquely suitable to operate EV SUV's. With short distances, climate and terrain conditions ideally suited to SUV's, combined with a plentiful supply of Geo-thermal electricity, Iceland is perfect for EV's !
      American Refugee
      • 2 Years Ago
      What, converting massive and heavy passenger vehicles to electric wasn't a good idea? At least massive and heavy delivery vehicles are massive and heavy for a reason.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Liberty Electric Vehicles of the UK is still on track to deliver 150, LEVRR's to Iceland and Norway. No doubt Liberty will pick up the orders vacated by AMP. I wish AMP well, it's hard to believe that more EV manufacturers aren't exploiting the light commercial vehicle segment.
      Breconeer
      • 2 Years Ago
      So they've now reached the same conclusion that Smith Electric reached several years earlier. That EVs are, economically and practicably, best suited to depot-based local delivery fleets and school buses. Sounds like they might now even have read some of the arguments and logic detailed on the http://www.smithelectric.com website. Smith are themselves struggling to achieve sales momentum and financial progress - but they do at least have over a thousand electric vans and trucks on the road in regular use, and a proven record of keeping them going. Especially in the UK. Check out the Customer Stories page on their website.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      107,000 sales in one quarter - so that's like 3 cars?
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Sales are labor & parts, and from major OEM EV conversions, the premium is about $20k. Considering the efficiency of scale for GM & other major OEMs, it's at most 3 cars. Probably only 2.
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