- Ford’s F-150 Lightning is as big and powerful as the gas-guzzling model.
- Electric cars that look like gas cars are familiar and appealing to buyers.
- The move to electric should be an opportunity to rethink vehicle infrastructure in cities.
It’s like taking a horse and cart, and replacing the horse with a gas-powered-horse robot instead of inventing the car. Electric-powered cars need to be lightweight, and personal city vehicles don’t need four seats, 20 cup holders, or a 200-plus mph top speed. On the other hand, perhaps these extreme EVs will convince diehard petrolheads to go electric.
“There is no longer an engine under the hood of an electric F-150. It is now storage,” urban planner Gil Meslin said on Twitter. “There is no reason, other than style over safety, not to modify the front end to reduce the blind spot and make it less lethal in the event of a collision with a human body.”
Smaller and Lighter, Not Heavier
First, there’s a wholly practical reason that big electric cars don’t work as well as small ones. Gasoline offers an insane energy density. Just a few gallons can take a small car hundreds of miles. It’s this storage efficiency, along with the US’s cheap gas, that has fueled the rise of today’s huge, gas-thirsty cars.
Electric batteries are comparatively terrible at storing energy. If you want more range or more power, you need to add batteries, which are themselves heavy, and require more juice to carry them around. That’s why electric works best with smaller vehicles, like bikes or purpose-designed, lightweight cars without all the usual extra weight.
Familiarity Breeds Content
New tech tends to mimic old tech, possibly because buyers are reassured by familiarity. Electric cars pretend to be gas cars, right down to the charging cables that look like gas pumps. Right now that makes sense.
If all electric cars looked like Renault’s little Twizy, then who would buy them? Even the cute and Smart Car, which is ubiquitous in Europe, failed in the US. Why? Too small, perhaps? Too quirky? Not enough like a “real” car?
But for electric cars to work out, they need to be smaller. The smaller and lighter the vehicle, the fewer batteries it needs to carry. And fewer batteries mean less charging time, which is a real concern when charging times are so much longer than filling up your tank.
If EVs are going to be smaller and lighter, then they also need a complete redesign. An SUV-class vehicle just isn’t a practical starting point. The “failed” Smart Car is a much better option.
The problem is getting people to buy the things, which is where Ford’s huge new electric F-150 Lightning comes in. By converting its biggest, most macho truck to electric, Ford is signaling that it is a) serious about electric, and that electric is up to the task of replacing gasoline, and b) that electric is powerful enough for SUV and truck buyers.
But a huge, heavy electric truck will never be green. It might be a marketing move, but it’s one that makes little sense as soon as you think about its consequences.
Delivery and Utility
No Lamborghini, electric or gas, has a place on public roads, at least not when used for its designed purpose. But utility trucks like the F-150 are tools. The thing is, their natural habitat is rural, or at least outside of downtown. And while cities make for efficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure, in the country, gas makes sense.
You can’t walk to the nearest SuperCharger station and fill up a can. And the emissions from a few trucks in the middle of nowhere don’t have the same local impact as they do when multiplied in cities, especially if that electricity comes from burning coal.
With emissions targets set, electric vehicles are the future. But they don’t have to be the scourge that gas cars are now. Building out an entirely new infrastructure for charging EVs is an opportunity to make some changes, and to put the private automobile in its place. And its place is not the city.
Biden signs ‘Buy American’ order, pledges to renew U.S. manufacturing
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden vowed on Monday to leverage the purchasing power of the U.S. government, the world’s biggest single buyer of goods and services, to strengthen domestic manufacturing and create markets for new technologies.
The Democratic president signed an executive order aimed at closing loopholes in existing “Buy American” provisions, which apply to about a third of the $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys each year. The order will make any waivers more transparent and create a senior White House role to oversee the process.
“I don’t buy for one second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past,” Biden told reporters before signing the order. “American manufacturing was the arsenal of democracy in World War Two and it must be part of the engine of American prosperity now.”
Biden reiterated plans announced on the campaign trail to replace the fleet of federal cars with U.S.-made electric vehicles.
Revitalizing the manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 12% of the U.S. economy, is a key part of Biden’s broader push to drive up wages, create more union jobs, support minority-owned businesses and strengthen U.S. supply chains, White House officials say.
Boosting U.S. manufacturing has proven a vexing challenge for previous administrations, including that of former President Donald Trump.
“America can’t sit on the sidelines in the race to the future. Our competitors aren’t waiting,” Biden said. “To ensure the future is made in America, we need to win not just the jobs of today, but the jobs and industries of tomorrow.”
Manufacturers have been attracted by lower wages and weaker environmental standards in China and other countries in recent decades. This exodus has resulted in critical gaps that have been laid bare during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the making of medical equipment.
China overtook the United States as the world’s top manufacturer in 2010, and was responsible for 28% of global output in 2018, according to United Nations data.
“This order is a good first step in revitalizing U.S. manufacturing, which Trump’s policies failed to do over the past four years,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said.
President Joe Biden announced the ambitious plan of replacing the entire fleet of autos owned by the federal government with electric vehicles as his administration takes steps to embrace clean energy.
Biden also pledged that these new electric vehicles will be made in the U.S.
The federal government owns some 645,000 vehicles total, according to a 2019 General Services Administration report, with more than 225,000 of those belonging to the U.S. Postal Service and more than 170,000 of those belonging to military agencies.
Of the total vehicles owned by the government, however, only 4,475 are electric vehicles, according to the report.
The president did not give a timeline for when this massive vehicle replacement goal will be implemented.
EV Fleet Makes Request for Purchase Order
EV Fleet designed and is poised to begin manufacturing the CONDOR 100% Electric Pickup Truck. It is 97% made in the USA. The company may provide as many as 1,000 new, high-paying jobs for North Carolina, where it is based.
The company is officially requesting a Purchase Order from the Federal government for 10,000 new CONDORS for its Municipal Leasing program to supply airports and cities with its patented, on-highway light truck. The CONDOR has the safest light truck cab in the world today, and is capable of hauling 1,000 pounds 200 miles between charges for about 2 cents a mile.
Manufacturing could begin in as little as 6 months, meeting President Biden’s implementation plan perfectly.
EV Fleet Proposes Neighborhood Grocery Delivery Service
Wouldn’t it be great if those grocery orders could be turned into a local delivery service that arrives within five minutes of the prescribed time? EV Fleet has developed an autonomous, refrigerated electric truck that will deliver your groceries to your home at the prescribed time. The entire process can be done from your smartphone, and all you have to do is carry it from the truck to your house.
Studies have shown that users of the service would only buy for a few meals at a time, rather than a whole shopping cart requiring multiple trips to the car. The CONDOR can travel up to 200 miles a day on less than $2.00 worth of electricity. This means that 4-6 sacks of groceries could be selected, paid for, and locally delivered at no extra cost. The grocery operator would even call or text you as the truck is nearing your location.
The breakthrough project is the genius brainchild of founder Brooks Agnew and the expert programming and logistics skills of their highly experienced tech provider. The trucks have no human in the cockpit, so no NHTSA driver and passenger safety regulations apply. The CONDOR is already the most energy efficient truck in the world and can achieve speeds of 80 mph on regular US highways. It’s batteries are designed and maintained to last for a lifetime.
Call or write today for a business plan and conversation.
EV Fleet Engineers Create Breakthrough
The most valuable investment in any electric vehicle is the energy storage system. Until now, all EVs faced the same recharging challenge. They charge the energy storage system – usually batteries – in series at pack voltage.
In other words, if the vehicle’s controller operates at 350 volts, the batteries are connected to a charger that outputs 350 volts, and that voltage passes through all the cells just like a 12-volt battery your ICE car utilizes. That battery is made of six 2-volt cells in series. The battery is not recharged at 2 volts. It is recharged at 12 volts. In fact, it is recharged at 14.7 volts, just to make sure you have all the power necessary to run all the high-amperage components in your car like halogen lights, fans, and various solenoids in the engine and transmission. That battery’s life is determined by the space between the bottom of the lead plates and the bottom of the battery. When that space fills up with lead-sulfate flakes, the battery is dead.
There is one other issue. While 350 volts is coursing through the EV battery pack, each 3.6 volt cell in that pack has to be protected from overcharging. That is accomplished with a Battery Management System. These units are expensive and subject to damage from all kinds of things from vibration to transient power surges during charging or discharging (driving).
EV Fleet has designed and built a new generation of battery charger that does all of the charging and protecting all in one inexpensive package. It reduced the cost of manufacturing a CONDOR pickup truck by more than $400. In automobile manufacturing terms, that is a major breakthrough. No one else has it. Everyone can have it with a small licensing fee to EV Fleet.
EV Fleet has more experience with electric vehicle technology than anyone else in the business. We have the lightest, strongest, and most crashworthy small truck in the world. Not only that, but the CONDOR sells for roughly half what the competition sells for, and that is without a dime of rebate applied to the sale price.
And the warranty? How about as many miles as you can drive in ten years? Period.
Our mission statement is simple. Drive electric.
MEDIA: To request interviews and photos, click here.
CONDOR Shatters Coastdown Drag Record
The patented CONDOR pickup truck has set another record by achieving just 6.77 HP of coastdown drag. That means, it takes 75% less energy to maintain 55 miles an hour than the previous world’s record. What does this mean for the fleet operator? It means that the energy you invest in getting your fleet to speed is conserved like never before. This is precisely why the CONDOR costs less than 2 Cents-Per-Mile to operate.
Add to that the fact that you need no oil, water, belts, hoses, or other typical consumables, and your fleet can remain running longer on less money than ever before. What are you waiting for? Call or write today for your free test drive.
EV Fleet Awarded Patent on its Breakthrough Electric Drive
After ten years of careful research and targeted design to very strict criteria, Brooks Agnew introduced a breakthrough innovation in electric drive design and application. The US Patent Office has accepted and approved the patent application for Dr. Agnew’s electric traction system that raised the bar for small pickup trucks and other vehicles requiring a multi-ratio traction system.
With a focus on simplicity being the crown of genius, the design solved the low-speed consumption of stored power under high-torque demand. It also solved the highway speed demands by setting a new standard for reduction of mechanical drag. The drag reduction improved the range of the vehicle by as much as 20% over previous designs.
The new CONDOR light electric pickup truck is the world’s only on-highway electric truck with a ten-foot wheel base. Its patented aerodynamics were designed to smoothly slice through the air with the resistance of a sports car, while preserving the storage and passenger comfort of a full-sized pickup truck. While providing a 100” long bed that is 65” wide, the CONDOR also provides secure and dry storage under the front hood. It is the first truck that is not a conversion of an existing truck, but rather is designed as an electric vehicle from the ground up. The CONDOR is the first truck to pass all FMVSS standards for crashworthiness as an electric vehicle.
EV Fleet has secured written interest for more than 80 thousand units domestically and is confident that homologation in the European market will be forthcoming to meet demand there as well. Delays in delivery are due to the unfortunate NHTSA sanctions against Takata. A new supplier for advanced airbags has been secured, ensuring deliveries in 2020. In our opinion, the destruction of the largest boutique air bag supplier in America was a government planned, targeted attempt to put independent carmakers out of business to protect the major carmakers. We have not been stopped; only delayed. We promise we will overcome government forces dedicated to stopping electric trucks from reaching the American highway. We have one thing in our favor. We have nearly 100 thousand customers waiting for their CONDORS.
Condor Passes all Crashworthiness Tests With Excellent Margins of Safety
The CONDOR is the first on-highway, all-electric pickup truck. Period. Like everyone else, the engineers at EV Fleet, Inc. began their research by converting existing ICE-powered trucks to electric. The results are now academic, thanks to nearly ten years of road testing by their top engineers.
First, converted trucks cannot reach the efficiency needed for acceptable range-per-dollar. That is to say, they are too heavy, and too slow to meet market demand. GM’s shadow company, VIA Motors, has been a complete disaster for the industry with its converted Chevy pickups. The CONDOR solves this problem by designing its own steel frame designed as an electric truck from the ground up. The battery “cages” are integral to the frame, and the roll cage allows high-tech, corrosion free body panels to be utilized. This produces a full-bed pickup truck that weighs less than 3,200 lbs dry with a payload of 1,000 lbs. That is the best in its class by almost 50%.
Second, converted ICE-powered trucks are not safe. The original design was unstable enough, with 70% of its weight balanced over the front wheels. ICE-powered pickup trucks are inherently prone to over-steering in wet and icy conditions, which has resulted in tens of thousands of traffic fatalities and billions in property damage. The CONDOR solves that problem with its race-designed steel frame. The empty stability of the CONDOR is equivalent to that of a NASCAR vehicle. The CONDOR is stable, nimble, and able to take a full-speed impact from all sides, including the roof, making it the safest vehicle in its class by a healthy margin, according to electronic test results.
Third, converted ICE-powered trucks are extremely expensive. The converter has to remove all the fuel-burning equipment and instrumentation. This not only means the engine and exhaust, but also means discarding the tanks, lines, wiring, computers, and mounts. Adding back a heavy battery package means additional braces, supports, and mounts have to be welded to the frame. The parts that are removed must be disposed of, including the oil, metal, plastics, and other chemicals. The frame must be sandblasted and retreated to resist corrosion. The frame must be retested for crashworthiness, as the weight and balance of the vehicle has been radically changed. The company must get a permit for EACH individual trucks from the EPA, as there was an IC engine associated with the VIN number. This applies even if the frame is imported with no engine installed. The process is expensive and time consuming. The CONDOR solves this problems by designing and building its own steel frame from the ground up as an electric vehicle. The frame is high-strength steel that is then powder coated for virtually endless corrosion resistance and produced at a fraction the cost of the converted truck frame.
Fourth, when the supply of pickup truck frames runs out, production must stop. The CONDOR is manufactured new from brand new high-strength steel and brand new corrosion-free polymer panels just like the semi-tractors that work hard from cost to coast. It never needs to be painted. Body panels can be repaired or replaced easily and inexpensively.
Fifth, ICE trucks are not aerodynamic. They require large radiator cooling areas that must be pushed through the air by the power plant. The CONDOR has no water cooling. There is no radiator, no hoses, no belts, no pumps and no heater core. The front end of the CONDOR is smooth and designed to slip through the air with almost no resistance. The inherent “throbbing” experienced by passengers when the vehicle reaches speeds greater than 40 miles an hour does not exist with the CONDOR. Both windows can be rolled down at speeds up to 85 miles an hour without the deafening wind noise and vibration experienced in all other trucks. Why? Because the CONDOR body was designed in a wind tunnel to move the air away from the sides of the truck, greatly reducing the drag. Not only does this extend the range to well over 100 miles, it also reduces the noise of driving. And, as a unique bonus, the CONDOR comes with a dry spacious, lockable trunk in the front of the vehicle. You no longer have to lock your book bag in the cab of the truck in plain view.
The only question now, is when are you going to fill out an interest form and get your own CONDOR, all-electric pickup truck?
EV Fleet CEO on building a highway-capable light-duty all-electric truck
Charged Magazine – February 2016
There are a lot of great opportunities for companies building EVs for niche markets, but getting an independent automotive startup off the ground is anything but easy.
EVs can be very practical from a financial point of view. So it’s a bit of a shame that for the world’s most practical vehicle buyer – the fleet manager – there are still not many options, particularly in the popular segment of small to mid-size vans and trucks. If a commercial application can’t be fulfilled with a passenger plug-in vehicle – like a LEAF or Volt – there are few other choices for a fleet buyer who is looking to reap the cash savings from driving on electronics.
Some major automakers have offerings for the commercial market, like Nissan’s e-NV200 van and, in Europe, Renault’s Kangoo Z.E. But for the most part, the large OEMs see the commercial market for small trucks and vans as too small relative to passenger cars. So when automakers decide to spend billions on electrification technology development, they’re focused on creating the next Prius-style success story. It will probably take another decade for the EV technology currently being developed for high-volume consumer EVs to trickle down to widely-available commercial trucks and vans of many shapes and sizes.
A few companies look at this reality and see a huge opportunity. For example, Charlotte, North Carolina-based EV Fleet, which has designed a highway-capable light-duty all-electric truck called the Condor, with a variety of bed options to meet the needs of many commercial customers. The company has spent the past few years using early prototypes to quietly build interest among commercial and municipal fleet operators, and it reports enough commitments to max out production for years to come. Charged recently connected with CEO Brooks Agnew to learn more about the potential market and the last obstacles the company needs to clear before starting full production.
Brooks Agnew: I’ve been in the auto manufacturing business my whole career, about 23 years, and in 2007 I decided to look into starting an EV business. Around that time I began to notice that all the small trucks (like the Toyota Tundra, Chevy S10 and Ford Ranger) were being discontinued by the automakers. And these were the trucks largely used in commercial fleets (carpenters, plumbers, electricians, delivery, municipalities and service vehicles of all types). Light trucks were very popular commercially because they’re more economical on fuel, cheaper to acquire and still very versatile. And yet, one by one those models went out of production and the car companies moved that customer base up to mid- or full-sized trucks.
“I looked at it and thought, ‘Now
there is a good operational model
into which electric pickup trucks would
As Detroit and Japan backed out of that market, I looked at it and thought, “Now there is a good operational model into which electric pickup trucks would fit perfectly.” And after two and a half years of test-driving our vehicles with all kinds of different potential customers, this is exactly what we’ve found. We listened to the voice of the customer and designed a truck that drives exactly like a gas-powered truck, and they’re very interested. The Condor was designed by our customers.
Charged: Can you tell us about the design and specifications of the Condor?
Agnew: Like many other new EV companies, we started doing gas-to-electric conversions. We thought it would be best if we could find someone to sell us gliders – a fully operational automotive frame with no engine or gas components at all. However, I found it nearly impossible to find a supplier. There were some options for importing them, but that was a time-consuming and expensive process, thanks to some EPA regulations. The only option for upgrading ICE chassis to pure electric drives was buy a new vehicle, strip it out, and turn it into electric. We quickly determined that the financial model wasn’t there for that type of operation.
Instead, we gathered the best racing minds together and started to design the Condor from the ground up as an electric truck. I’m pretty familiar with just about every major aspect of automotive manufacturing – I have been through the APQP process with many platforms. I became a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and coupled that with Lean Manufacturing skills over a 10-year period to develop a systemic approach from the beginning.
In 2013, we started by designing our own lightweight, high-strength steel frame. It has a 127-inch wheelbase, and is designed to protect the batteries in case of a collision, which makes the truck extremely strong. Also, one of the reasons small trucks went out of production is that the design was fundamentally unsafe. If there is no weight in the back of the truck, the vehicles had a tendency to oversteer – actually have the rear wheels lose traction at freeway speeds in wet conditions. Our design solved that inherent safety flaw, because we distributed the battery pack along the frame, so it maintains traction even when it’s empty. The Condor may be the safest small truck in America, partly because of its low center of gravity, so it will resist rolling over, and its evenly distributed weight, so it won’t get stuck, even in icy conditions.
The Condor has a fully independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, and a minimum of 8 inches ground clearance. The clearance can also be adjusted up two inches by the owner if you have something like an off-road application. The drivetrain has 70 hp to the wheels and a 5-speed transmission. If you need to tow something, or climb a hill, you’ve got the torque to be able to do that, or if you want to do freeway driving up to 85 MPH, you’ve got the gearing to do that – all in the optimum torque band of the motor, which helps extend the range. The first thing drivers notice is that the acceleration is better than a gas-powered truck. I often say that we have a device that holds you in the seat – it’s called the motor.
We have two battery options: a 50 kWh pack for $49,900 and a 30 kWh pack for $46,500 (before tax savings). In our urban tests with continuous driving over 45 mph, we’re getting 120-135 miles per charge on the 50 kWh pack. That’s on what we would call normal city streets. For the 30 kWh pack, we’re seeing a consistent 60-70 miles per charge. The excellent range is due to the smooth body design that slips through the wind with drag coefficients more like a sports car. The patent-pending drive system is tough and extremely low on mechanical drag, making the coast-down numbers the best in its class. Once you reach the posted speed, it takes surprisingly little energy to maintain that speed.
For companies that do a lot of short trips, like car parts or flower delivery, utilizing a charger back at the depot for opportunity charging, the 30 kWh pack is a great option to reduce the upfront costs without compromising the performance at all. Since they’re never more than 25 miles from the shop, it works out perfectly.
The vehicles come standard with a 3 kW onboard charger for Level 1 or 2 J1772 charging, or we can upgrade it to 5 kW. All Condors come with both 120 V and J1772 ports so they can recharge anywhere. They are even equipped with built-in solar recharging, to keep the batteries topped off even when they’re not plugged in. The cargo cooler version with solar power stays cold all day, supported by free energy from the sun. We can also enable the vehicles to work with DC fast charging, however after years of test drives and talking to customers, we’ve never had someone interested in anything over Level 2. No one in the light truck fleet market seems to care about rapid charging. They’re happy not to be deep cycling the pack, and to use opportunity charging 4 or 5 times during the day in combination with overnight charging. That fits their operations model. The Condor also has the ability to transfer energy to another Condor in case of emergency.
We’re working with multiple suppliers for the batteries and the charging systems. Part of our design criteria was to create a generic battery space, so that we can fill it with the best battery technology at any time. That sort of competition makes sure the customer has the best available technology. We’re now using a state-of-the-art lithium iron phosphate battery that has great watt density. They’re designed to last about a decade in the vehicle and then be sold to the second-life market, recovering some of the customer’s investment in batteries. And our nearly bullet-proof motors are from a supplier in Chicago that builds them to our specs. With less than a dozen moving parts, the Condor may last a lifetime requiring very little maintenance. It uses no oil, water, or fuel. That’s why we say, “No grease, just lightning.”
Charged: Will the Condor be eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit when it goes on sale?
Agnew: Yes, as soon as it receives approval from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) it will qualify for the $7,500 federal credit. The credit is based on a minimum battery size – which the Condor meets and exceeds – and only applies to vehicles that are capable of highway speeds – no problem for us with a top speed of 85 MPH.
Also, when designing the vehicle, we thought that sooner or later Washington would lose its appetite for this tax credit system and it would go away. So, we had to design a truck that could compete dollar-for-dollar (without tax incentives) in a 36-month period with a gas-powered truck. And that’s why we targeted $49,900 for the 50 kWh truck.
Charged: At what stage is the Condor in the FMVSS and crash-testing process?
Agnew: We finished crash-testing the vehicle structure in January of 2015. So, the truck is completely crash-worthy – rollover, side impact, rear impact, frontal impact. It was an iterative process. We crashed the truck, then made improvements and crashed it again until we had a good margin of safety. The cab has an integral steel roll cage that is far stronger and safer than any small truck ever built.
Our last step is to design and test the smart airbags in the two front passenger areas and side curtains. We were working with an airbag company that encountered a major recall part of the way through the process, so we had to change companies. That has definitely been a setback in terms of timeframe and costs. The price of airbag development essentially doubled when we switched suppliers, from about $4 million to almost $9 million. So, right now the only thing between our factory floor and customer deliveries is finishing airbag design and testing – a process that takes between nine and twelve months.
Airbag design happens in three phases. First the bags are designed electronically, that takes about two months. Then prototypes are physically sewn together and put into one of our cabs, which is bolted to a sled. At that point it’s not crashed but reverse accelerated at a very high rate, so the bags are deployed. That happens over and over again inside the cab with high-speed cameras recording, so the controller can be programed to unfold the bags in the optimal way for each test dummy style and position. Once that programming is done, which usually takes about 4 months, the finished truck is physically crashed containing the airbags. If the physical crash meets the simulation, then it’s considered compliant. They rarely have to do the full crash more than once for each approach, because the initial design steps are so comprehensive.
So we’ve already contracted the new airbag supplier, and we’re currently working on a new round of financing to cover the additional costs.
Charged: Are there other regulatory hurdles, beyond crash testing, that are particularly challenging for a startup EV company?
Agnew: There are several agencies involved, not the least of which is the EPA. You could ask yourself, why in the world would the EPA be involved in electric cars? It’s not really their space since there are no emissions, but, believe it or not, they still do the exact same testing as they would with a gas-powered vehicle – except they don’t have a tailpipe to stick the testing probe in.
The EPA has created a Fuel Economy Label for EVs that contains 14 indices that I think are meaningless to consumers, which is why they naturally ignore them. The label is expensive and takes months to obtain, because the EPA has only one testing station in the entire country. The application process was created for ICE vehicles, and has no provision for EVs. They don’t claim to know how to drive an EV, nor will they shift gears during their dyno testing process. And if they get it wrong and report a much lower range than the manufacturer claims, there is no appeal process.
In fact, one could say we already have a “fuel economy label” that’s very simple to understand, and tens of millions of Americans are already familiar with it. Every time you buy an electric appliance there is a yellow label on it that says, “This appliance costs approximately X dollars per year to operate.” And that’s the fuel economy label we have on our truck window, and it’s one everyone understands.
We are actually talking to Congress on a regular basis to try to correct the EPA process and hope the other EV producers will join us in trying to lift some of the misguided regulations that have prevented EVs from reaching a hungry consumer market. I would estimate that together, EV producers represent about 20,000 jobs that are badly needed in places like Charlotte.
Charged: Can you describe how you see the Condor fitting into the commercial fleet buying process?
Agnew: The way most fleets work is that they replace a certain amount of vehicles every year. As the trucks get a little over 5 years in age they look at the maintenance record and the mileage, and then send them off to the auction block, where they don’t get very much money back. Then they buy new vehicles.
These are the customers we’re talking to about getting our vehicles on the replacement schedule. Small orders at first: 5 to 10 trucks. Then, as they see those succeed at the application, during the next purchase cycle – usually six to nine months later – they’ll be more inclined to purchase more electric trucks: around 10 to 20. These numbers are based on the fleet operators that we’ve been working with to put together a 5-year schedule. We asked them, assuming success with the truck and a good service relationship, what amount of your gasoline fleet would you replace with a successful electric fleet? And the response has been incredible for a company our size. We’ve found very real interest both in terms of writing us checks and giving us letters of interest to reserve their spot in line.
We did a study with one national supply company that wanted to know the fuel cost reduction if they replaced 6,000 vehicles with electric trucks – that’s only a portion of their fleet – and it was in the neighborhood of $30 million in annual savings. So, electric trucks can clearly be compelling for a lot of fleet applications, and we can outfit the vehicle backend with a lot of different options for any use case – a box truck, refrigerator, freezer, flatbed, storage, etc.
Charged: Do you have any advice for other people who are thinking about starting an independent EV-related business?
Agnew: One of the hardest things to do in life is start a company, whether you’re starting a restaurant or a manufacturing business. The access to capital is as hard for one person as it is for another, and fundraising can be almost as hard as designing the products.
However, this is an exciting time for the EV industry. This is where the industry begins to break away from the restraints placed upon it by incumbent interests. If you think about it, the major automakers don’t care whether EVs come or don’t come. They’re still selling with the same tire smoking, sideways drifting car ads. If a major automaker sells you an EV, it just replaces an ICE car they already make. What keeps them dabbling in the market is the fear of missing out on the next big trend, and that trend is here.
Condor Power Steering Wins Driver Award
The Condor 100% electric pickup truck was compared to a Chevy Silverado 2WD, a Ford F-150 2WD, and a Dodge Ram 1500 (2WD) for ease of steering and parking. One of the most common complaints about power steering is the strain it places on the motor when it is idling. The Condor was reported to be slightly easier to turn the steering wheel by all drivers, and they all noticed that it was silent, even when the traction motor was not turning at all.
The Condor utilizes an Electric Assist Power Steering (EPAS), but the simple and elegant application by EVFI is what makes the difference. Not only is the turning radius smaller than its full-sized competitors, but it can be turned lock to lock with one finger. This really impressed the female drivers who prefer a truck to steer with greater comfort. It also makes the Condor extremely easy to park or to negotiate tight turns for quicker deliveries.
It is a fact that pickup trucks are inherently unstable on wet or icy roads when the truck bed is empty. Just ask someone who got stuck on a small incline of wet grass with a 2WD pickup truck that was empty. The Condor is amazingly stable, even when it is empty for several reasons.
First, the weight distribution is that of a race car, evenly balanced between all four disc brake wheels. This means that the fully independent traction of the Condor, even when it is empty, makes it nearly impossible to get stuck on a slippery incline.
Second, the strategic placement of the steel encased battery packs below the vehicle’s center of gravity makes the Condor far more stable under all weather conditions than its full-sized competitors. The superior handling of the Condor makes it safer to drive by avoiding accidents with nimble steering.
The Condor beats the competition in turning radius, stability, and cost to operate. Don’t delay. Schedule your test drive today.
Published on Jan. 7, 2015 in The Charlotte Business Journal.
CLT Joules nominates entrepreneurs, innovators for energy awards
EV Fleet is among the nominees for the OPower Energy Innovation of the Year Award, as part of CLT Joules‘ first Energy Innovation Awards. Tom McKittrick, creator of ReVenture Park, where EV Fleet Inc. is headquartered, was nominated for BDO Entrepreneur of the Year.
Published Sept. 29, 2014, on CharlotteObserver.com and Oct. 1, 2014, in The Charlotte Observer.
Charlotte startup rides electric-vehicle wave
The Condor is a strategic response to what Brooks Agnew said he didn’t see on the market – pickup trucks built with motors that ran on energy stored in batteries and no gas components. Yet the Condor’s creation comes just as analysts question the long-term viability of the nascent electric vehicle industry
Published Sept. 29, 2014, on WFAE, Charlotte’s NPR News Source.
Charlotte Company Hopes To Lead Electric Truck Revolution
Electric cars were largely novelties until Tesla introduced its Roadster in 2008. Now, a few small start-ups are trying to repeat Tesla’s success in another sector of the electric vehicle industry. They’re building trucks, hoping to sell them en masse to government and business fleets. Read or listen to the full report here.
Published Aug. 27, 2014, on AutoEvolution.com: EV Fleet electric trucks news.
All-Electric Condor Truck Coming to Market this September
Farmers and fleet owners, gather around and take a look at the first all-electric light pickup truck you can buy this year. It’s called the Condor and it will arrive on market next month.
It might look like a shed-built weekend project, but the thing is real and the company that makes it, EV Fleet, claims it could build 15 units per day, summing up to 300 per month, each for the starting price of $50,000.
Don’t panic about the steep price, because it will benefit from incentives. The stock cab and chassis come fitted with an independent adjustable suspension, all-around disk brakes, insulated cabin and air conditioning.
Power is supplied by a 32 kWh or a 50 kWh battery pack. The neat thing is that you can manage the power use, by programming the 0-60 mph acceleration times for example, which can be achieved in 5 to 12 seconds. Same goes with the top speed, which can be set to a maximum of 85 mph (137 km/h).
EV Fleet Visited by Governor McCrory
Published Aug. 9, 2014, in The Gaston Gazette: EV Fleet electric trucks news.
Eco-industrial park near Mount Holly gaining steam
By Michael Barrett
The Gaston Gazette
The firm that has been working to redevelop a contaminated industrial site near Mount Holly says it now has 10 companies operating there. Those consist of start-up businesses and pilot projects that employ a total of 40 to 45 people. Officials say they are demonstrating the potential of ReVenture Park to further attract economic development and create more green energy jobs in the future.
“It’s becoming an entrepreneurial incubator,” said Tom McKittrick, president of Forsite Development, a commercial real estate firm redeveloping the site. “Our goal from the beginning was to take a shuttered manufacturing plant that has very heavy infrastructure and reposition the buildings to create recycling-based projects.
“Now five years later, it’s starting to come together quickly.”
The strides at ReVenture Park were recognized Thursday (Aug. 7) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It awarded an Excellence in Site Reuse award for officials who redeveloped the former Superfund site into the region’s first eco-industrial park.
… Another ReVenture tenant, EV Fleet, has developed the first highway-ready, light-duty electric pickup truck capable of accelerating to 60 miles an hour in about 5 seconds.
The company is beginning to take orders for the new 2015 Condor and expects to be manufacturing in the near future with 20 to 30 trucks per day, McKittrick said.
“They have 12 employees and will have double that in the next 60 days,” he said.
EPA Deputy Director Franklin Hill presented the gold plaque for excellent in renewing a former super-fund site and agreed to push for licensing of a Charlotte testing lab for electric vehicles to help lower the cost of development for EV Fleet. McKittrick said the EPA award is gratifying and demonstrates ReVenture Park is finally cresting the hill. He sees it continuing on the momentum it has built.
“It’s been a long, uphill battle, but we can definitely say the site is being put back to productive use and promoting the clean-energy economy,” he said. “I’m having conversations literally every week with other companies interested in locating here.”
Published Aug. 26, 2014 on InsideEVs.com: EV Fleet electric trucks news.
EV- Fleet Inc. Readies For 2015 Launch of 100 Mile Purpose-Built BEV Truck
In March 2013, Forsite Development launched ReVenture Park, a 667 acre location of a former chemical die complex in Mt. Holly NC. The land was previously deemed contaminated enough to be placed under federal Superfund for cleanup in 1983. Forsite Development succeeded in having the property accepted into the NC Brownfields Program. This program allowed new occupants to operate without being held responsible for previous contamination.
Another aspect of the ReVenture Park project is to be able to offer incentives to green startups. The complex has an abundance of inexpensive industrial space available to emerging green-energy companies.
One such company is EV-Fleet Inc.
InsideEVs met with Regional Sales Manager, Stewart Mallard and CEO/Engineer Brooks Agnew, who shared the following. EV Fleet Inc (EVFI) is currently taking orders for the 2015 Condor light weight BEV truck. EVFI will launch to the public on Sept. 18, 2014, at Optima Engineering by invitation in Charlotte NC.
Initially EV Fleet has the capacity to manufacture 15 trucks per day or 300 per month. EVFI will first launch in North Carolina, home of their assembly facility.