Click above for high-res gallery of the Phoenix SUT
Following yesterday's announcement that Phoenix Motorcars will work with the state of Hawaii to bring electric vehicles to Maui, we contacted Bryon Bliss, VP of sales and marketing for Phoenix, to get some more information. Bliss sent an email from Maui just after arriving and hosting another press conference there (do you think Phoenix just signed the deal to visit Hawai'i more often? I think maybe, but Bliss denies it).
Bliss said that the details of the deal are still being worked out, but that between 5 and 30 Phoenix SUTs will be used in Maui (probably between 5 and 10). Phoenix hasn't delivered any SUTs to customers yet, and the Maui fleet "will be prototype level vehicles with many final parts implemented." I also passed along reader Ug's question about the battery packs, and Bliss said that, "we are strongly considering the use of the Altairnano Lithium Titinate battery."
I also asked if the recent Better Place Hawai'i announcement was setting the two companies up for direct competition, and Bliss' response was that, because the vehicle charging connectors will be the same, "We feel we can work together or in parallel with Better Place to bring solutions today to markets such as Hawaii."
You can read Bliss' full email after the jump.
EMAIL FROM PHOENIX MOTORCARS:
It's been a great day as we've announced jointly again today in Maui with the Mayor and MECO our partnership to evaluate our vehicles and move to implement vehicles here in Maui County. While many details are still being worked out, we have agreed to launch a demonstration fleet in first quarter. This will most likely entail 5 to 10 of our Phoenix SUT models, but could include as many as 30. These will be prototype level vehicles with many final parts implemented. As part of this demonstration we are looking to further develop and evaluate the us of our vehicles thru vehicle to grid connection. This demonstration will last a minimum of six months but most likely will remain ongoing for some time after, again details are still in process of being finalized.
Project Better Place has announced last week an intent to also address EV infrastructure in Hawaii, though they will need some time to begin this process. We feel our efforts are both focused on the same goal. As EV infrastructure connection regulations are regulated in the US thru SAE J1772, vehicle connections for all EV's will be identical from the customers standpoint. We feel we can work together or in parallel with Better Place to bring solutions today to markets such as Hawaii. As this project is proven out it can then be moved and adapted into other locations seeking to meet the same objectives.
While Hawaii certainly is a great place to visit, vacation was not our primary intent. We see great opportunity to prove out our vehicles in a location were range, security and focus on renewable energy creation are become a near term reality. Hawaii will become a foundation and model for future Phoenix Motorcars expansion.
For this demonstration fleet, we are strongly considering the use of the Altairnano Lithium Titinate battery. As defined objectives and goals for the Hawaii demonstration get firmed up over the new few weeks, I'd be happy to share them with you for further clarification.