Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Higher-speed sales for low-speed vehicles

Why is this relevant? As companies and govt have to cut cost to save money they look everywhere for efficiency. The first time I came to the States and saw Class 8 trucks as ambulances I wondered how they could afford such expensive and gas consuming vehicles, whereas in most places in the world including Australia much cheaper lighter vehicles are used that also had lower ongoing operating costs.Just another sign that the focus is on cost reduction, same as was the focus in Australia after the crisis there in the early 90's.

Aivars Lode

Higher-speed sales for low-speed vehicles
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Cruise Cars' "All-American" low-speed electric vehicles have a 230-watt solar electric panel that helps keep their batteries charged. This is a two-seater, but the ones sold to the U.S. Navy carry four.

By Michael Pollick

Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 27, 2010 at 6:23 p.m.

SARASOTA - As government agencies strive to meet new energy and recycling mandates on their fleets, Cruise Cars is experiencing strong orders for its new line of solar-assisted electric vehicles.

On Sunday, the company shipped 30 of its "All-American" line of low-speed vehicles to the U.S. Navy for use at a base in San Diego. They cost about $10,000 each, seat four people and have a cargo bay.

While available for private use as well as fleet use, the new All American line is specifically engineered to satisfy two new federal mandates for government vehicle fleets. One requires agencies to reduce their petroleum use by 2 percent per year from now until 2020. The other pushes the same agencies to include vehicles that contain recycled parts.

Cruise Cars, now about 6 years old, is gradually phasing out the electric vehicles it was importing from China. Instead, the company is buying existing aluminum-frame golf carts made by Club Car and others that are coming off leases from country clubs. Workers strip down the chassis and then stretch them into the larger chassis now in demand.

The roofs provide a frame for a 230-watt solar electric panel that helps keep the batteries charged.

The four-seater with the cargo bed has proven to be a hot seller, said Adam Sulimirski, Cruise Car's general manager.

The company is working on an eight-seat model that would feature twice the power output from its roof-top The panels are designed to boost the charge on the battery, but are not yet powerful enough to be relied upon for a full recharge.

"We tell a client that if you are driving five to ten miles a day, you don't have to plug the vehicle in," Sulimirski said. "That covers a lot of applications. They drive to a building, park it, drive to another building, park it."

Cruise Car, with a main office at 1712 Northgate Blvd. in Sarasota, is starting to beef up its work force to handle the increased orders.

1 comment:

  1. Your analysis is on target. My colleague and I have been covering the LSV market, along with the golf cars and utility vehicles for over ten years. (We refer to it as the small task oriented vehicle market(STOV) and just published our latest study). We continue to see solid sales levels despite the economy because the vehicles offer a cost-effective alternative to full size pick-ups and cars, and, if electric powered, they are "green" as well.

    In the US more municipalities are allowing LSVs on roads and utility vehicle manufacturers are now producing utility vehicles that meet LSV standards. Therefore people can travel from farm or estate to local roads. In gated communities LSVs are equally versatile, moving from golf course to community roads to public roads. These vehicles are representative of a greater trend where the market is being segmented based on specific vehicle configurations to meet specific work, transport or recreation applications or combination thereof.