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Clean Transport

Published on March 8th, 2015 | by James Ayre


Amp Electric Aiming To Be The Tesla Motors Of Delivery Trucks & Vans

March 8th, 2015 by  

Following the announcement of a deal to provide UPS with 18 of its Workhorse E-Gen E-100 electric Walk-In Vans (to be tested in Texas), the company Amp Electric has reportedly set its sights on becoming the Tesla Motors of the delivery van and truck market.

Considering the specs of the company’s trucks perhaps the claim isn’t a wholly inappropriate one, but some of the specs make it seem a bit more like the Nissan LEAF (or Mitsubishi i-MiEV) of the delivery vehicle world — the E-Gen truck is outfitted with a 60-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack + a 200-kilowatt (268-horsepower) electric motor, and possesses a claimed all-electric range of around 60 miles per charge.

Amp Electric truck

The trucks are outfitted with range extenders as well, it’s worth noting, so that number seems easily sufficient for typical delivery truck use. These range extenders can be powered either by gasoline or by compressed natural gas — via an 18-kW (25-hp) engine. These recharge the batteries when parked. (Hmm, so this now seems more like the Chevy Volt of delivery vehicles….)

The company has actually been pursuing electrics for some time now, with on and off issues — which began to clear when it purchased the Workhorse truck group business from Navistar at a bargain, for $5 million. This purchase brought with it a large assembly plant in Indiana + an existing network of 440 dealers.

Green Car Reports provides more info:

So now, Amp Electric is a maker of trucks that run on gasoline, natural gas, propane, or electricity — though Amp Holding CEO Stephen Burns admits that, for the moment, electric trucks are just a tiny fraction of its business.

It has just two competitors at the moment in those classes: Ford and Freightliner. The latter, its chief competitor, also offers electric trucks — but their drivelines are installed by a third-party, whereas Workhorse builds its electric trucks in the same factory as its other versions.

Amp thinks it has a secret weapon in its battery partner — Panasonic — and its approach to building large-capacity packs, which relies on thousands of small “commodity” cells of the sort used in consumer electronics. Both facets echo the approach used by high-profile electric-car startup Tesla Motors.

Amp electric truck engine

That was a comparison that Burns seemed quite happy to make, even stating that he hoped that the industry would perceive it to be “just the Tesla” — the “Tesla of trucks,” so to say. (Commercial delivery trucks that is, not pickups.)

Unsurprisingly, drivers who have had the chance to use the company’s electric delivery trucks are apparently speaking very positively about it. After all, what you would you rather spend 8 hours a day driving around in: a noisy, cancer causing, IQ-diminishing, endlessly vibrating, diesel truck; or a quiet, no emissions, relatively still, electric one?


Worth noting here is that Amp Electric apparently warranties the battery packs installed in its trucks for a full 8 years. Burns commented on that, stating that a “conservative 8-year cost pencils out very nicely,” with regard to operator cost savings.

He also noted that even if the battery capacity diminished a bit during that period of time, one could simply burn a bit of gas in order to make up any potential shortfall — still running on electricity the majority of time, and still reaping the benefits of that.

When asked about approaching federally mandated changes to fuel economy and emissions, Burns noted: “By 2020, the majority of those trucks will be electric — half or more. There’s no way to get there otherwise.”

Interesting. Speaking for myself, if the day comes when the roads aren’t filled up with trucks spewing noxious diesel fumes, I will be quite happy.

Amp electric workhorse truck

A final note to make — Amp Electric Trucks also recently came to agreement with Alpha Baking Company of Chicago, Illinois, to provide 5 of its Workhorse E-GEN™ electric trucks to the company. This marks the second time in recent days that Amp Electric has entered into a supply agreement with a Chicagoan company — presumably at least partly because of the incentives on offer there.

CEO Burns, commented on this deal thusly: “We are delighted to be working with Alpha Baking and having our E-GEN trucks on the streets in Chicagoland. The E-GENs set a new standard for the product delivery market and we believe that it will set a new standard for the baking industry, an industry whose local delivery routes are perfectly suited for our E-GEN trucks.”

These trucks will, as you can probably guess, be used throughout the Chicago area as delivery vehicles.

Image Credit: Amp Electric

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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