Electric vehicle company RTEV focusing on battery-powered ATVs

RTEV, the Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicle company, is not the first to realize that a battery-powered ATV could be a good seller (we spoke with Electric Vehicle Systems about their ATEV last year). RTEV is now ready to expand into the electric recreational vehicles market with three models - the Cruiser, the 4-wheel drive Hunter, and the Workman - and has high hopes for more EVs down the road.

RTEV's three current models are all Low Speed Vehicles, which means they're OK going 25 mph on roads designated with 35 mph speed limits. Ruff & Tuff sold about 1,000 vehicles last year and will introduce electric scooters and bicycles (branded with the Wheego name) later this year. 2009 should see car-shaped Ruff & Tuff NEVs hit the market and the company is talking about "full-size, full-speed electric vehicles" in 2010. Currently, RTEV vehicles use dry cell sealed (AGM) batteries that can move the vehicles about 70 miles between charges. Check out a video of the Hunter electric ATV in action and see more details on the currently-available LSVs after the break.

Press Release:

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Electric Vehicle Company, RTEV, To Launch

EV Manufacturer Led by Former MindSpring Entrepreneur Poised to Capitalize on Growing Interest in Electric Vehicles

ATLANTA, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- RTEV, one of the first electric vehicle (EV) companies to deliver affordable electric LSVs (Low Speed Vehicles), will celebrate its official launch at Georgia Tech on May 6, 2008. The event, to be held at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Convention Center from 10am-12pm, will feature a short presentation and Q&A followed by EV test drives.

Electric Vehicle Adoption Fueled By Rising Gas Prices, Increased Environmental Awareness and Technological Advancements

The electric vehicle industry is on the cusp of major growth due to technological advances in the batteries and chargers used to power them, rising gasoline prices, increasing awareness and concern over global warming trends, and a desire to lessen U.S. dependency on foreign oil and its political implications. Consumers are increasingly making more green-conscious buying decisions. "People are looking at their vehicles and looking at their drive cycles and saying 'Maybe I can use a battery EV in a way that makes a lot of sense,'" said Brian Wynne of the Electric Drive Transportation Association.

"There is a perfect storm of macro-events that are causing the American public to take personal inventory of their habits across a wide spectrum which includes personal transportation, and RTEV is entering the marketplace at this pivotal time," said CEO Mike McQuary, serial entrepreneur and the ex-president of internet service providers MindSpring and EarthLink. "The long-held assumption has been that EVs are quirky and impractical for everyday life, and are of interest to only a small group of tree huggers. The more recent state of the market has been the development of vehicles that aim high-like Tesla and Fisker Automotives sports cars; and low-like NEVs and Golf Carts. Our vehicles will fill a middle market demand gap at the right time, with the right vehicles and a national dealer network to provide service and support."

RTEV is comprised of two divisions, Ruff & Tuff and Wheego. The company currently features three recreational vehicles under its Ruff & Tuff brand-the Cruiser, the 4-wheel drive Hunter, and the Workman-all of which are easily and inexpensively converted to be street-legal Low Speed Vehicles. Low Speed Vehicles are a US Department of Transportation designation for cars that can be licensed and driven on roads that have speed limits of 35 MPH and less. Ruff and Tuff sales totaled nearly 1,000 vehicles in 2007 through its growing national dealer network. In Q3 2008 RTEV will introduce a line of electric scooters and bicycles under the Wheego brand, to be followed by the auto shaped LSVs in 2009, and full-size, full-speed electric vehicles in 2010.

RTEV is led by an experienced management team which transformed the company from a golf car aftermarket accessory company to a full-line Electric Vehicle business. The team includes McQuary, who joined the company in 2007; President Bo Huff, who brings twenty-one years of experience in the electric car industry and introduced the first line of Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles in 2005; Vice President of Sales Charles Herbert; and Vice President of Engineering and Product Development Preston Wrenn.

RTEV: Advanced Technology Proponent

Founded as Ruff & Tuff Products in 2000, RTEV introduced its first line of electric vehicles in 2005 after five years of exhaustive design, engineering, and testing. The company distinguishes itself from other electric vehicles currently on the market with its long running dry cell sealed (AGM) batteries, which require no maintenance and will not harm the environment. Its vehicles feature on board high tech chargers and battery systems that can be upgraded to travel up to 70 miles on a single charge-and plug in for a recharge on any standard home 110 volt electrical outlet.

Existing Product Line Information:

Ruff & Tuff:

-- Cruiser: For street legal use on the road, recreational use at resorts and other planned communities, and around-the-neighborhood trips, the Cruiser features a 48-volt system with 14-hp motor available in two and four-passenger models in six colors, and is customizable with any of more than 20 Bolt-On Options. Commercial uses include transporting staff and visitors around campuses, manufacturing plants, and real estate development sites.

-- Hunter: The first single motor electric 4-Wheel Drive on-demand vehicle, the Hunter comes in three different Mossy Oak camouflage bodies and with 50-mile standard range on a single charge.

-- Workman: A utility grade two-passenger vehicle with a large cargo bed and optional hydraulic lift that is ideally suited for manufacturing facilities, construction sites, landscape or property services, and will transport personnel and payload in comfort and safety.

About RTEV

RTEV is an innovation-driven and environmentally-conscious manufacturer of Electric Vehicles (EVs). The company's two product lines are Ruff & Tuff (recreational) and Wheego (street). Under the leadership of Mike McQuary, CEO and former MindSpring entrepreneur, RTEV has become a leader in the integration of advanced technology components that distinguishes the brand from other EVs and is the first EV company to deliver affordable LSVs to the marketplace through a national dealer network. Privately held, RTEV is based in Atlanta, GA with distribution points in Winnsboro, SC; Baton Rouge Louisiana; and Long Beach, CA.

[Source: RTEV]

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