AMP Electric Vehicles
has hit one of its biggest milestones yet. The four-year-old Blue Ash company will introduce 1,000 all-electric SUVs to Iceland.
AMP, which moved from an engineering lab into a former Land Rover dealership late last year, has just signed a deal with Northern Electric Lights, a private company in Iceland. Under a letter of Intent, NLE has committed to buy the SUVs from AMP over the next five years.
Currently AMP specializes in converting three vehicles to 100-percent electric: the Chevrolet Equinox, Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice. AMP manufactures and installs state-of-the-art, all-electric, high performance engines and transmissions for the vehicles.
Details are still being ironed out on exactly what type of vehicles AMP will convert in the deal. In addition to converting vehicles in Blue Ash, the company could also set up a small shop in Iceland and convert some vehicles on site, said company CEO and founder Steve Burns.
This marks the largest single order for the startup, and the first time the company has converted vehicles for an overseas buyer.
"This is a big deal for us," Burns said. "1,000 vehicles is huge for any EV (Electric Vehicle) manufacturer."
AMP got the deal after hearing that Reykjavík-based NEL was looking to bring all-electric SUVs into the country as part of its ambitious plan to have every Iceland SUV driver in an all-electric vehicle.
"They announced they intended to make it the EV capital of the world. One of our marketing guys saw it in the press. We met (an NEL representative) in L.A. at the auto show and brought along a vehicle to the meeting. We picked him up in it. He drove it and saw it was solid," Burns said.
The meeting led to an eventual agreement. Burns said Iceland is the perfect place to experiment with introducing a large number of all electric SUVs into the market (the country only has 200,000 drivers). SUVs are very popular in the Northern European Island, which has some rugged terrain. Gas is expensive, up to $8 U.S. dollars a gallon, because it's all imported. Electricity is cheap and in the last few decades the government has made it a priority to develop the country's renewable hydropower and geothermal power sources.
In addition most of the country's densely packed population lives in or near the capital, making the average commute about 30 miles.
"This is going to be a great test bed," Burns said.
AMP plans to get a first vehicle for drivers "to rally around" by January, Burns said. Afterward more details will be laid outlining plans for the next five years.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Steve Burns, AMP founder and CEO
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