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AMP Electric Vehicles takes a giant step in alternative energy truck manufacturing

John Day

John Day

Posted Mar 11, 2013
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It isn’t every day that a company can take a huge growth step, but AMP Electric Vehicles took one last week when it announced its agreement to acquire the Workhorse® brand, logo, IP, patents, assembly plant, and nationwide network of 440 dealers from Workhorse Custom Chassis, LLC, a wholly owned affiliate of Navistar International Corporation.

When I last tuned in, AMP was competing in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a $10 million competition with the goal of achieving 100 MPGe (miles per gallon or its energy equivalent). AMP didn’t win, but it did make the finals with an all-electric Saturn Sky, which AMP chief executive officer Steve Burns said was the only production vehicle in the final round of competition.

Since then AMP shifted its focus from passenger vehicle conversions to delivery trucks, where Burns says the electric vehicle revolution may well start. AMP has been re-powering fleet vehicles including medium-duty class 3-6 trucks and vans, but it lacked a major manufacturing facility comparable to the former Workhorse Custom Chassis plant in Union City, Indiana.

The Workhorse acquisition will position AMP to become the first truck OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in the United States to offer a range of alternative fuel vehicles produced in an automated assembly plant. “There aren’t many of those OEMs, and the opportunity to become one doesn’t come along very often,” said Burns.  AMP’s vehicles will be sold and supported through the existing Workhorse dealer network.

AMP will manufacture gasoline-powered delivery trucks and layer-in electric and hybrid technologies, including the first all-electric integrated truck, with chassis and powertrain manufactured in one assembly line. “We want to be the leading alternative energy truck company, and we’re starting with a clean slate, a proven chassis, and years of experience in electric and hybrid vehicle technology.”

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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