There has been one benefit to having the American auto companies bankrupt, and that is that many companies and ideas for cars that would have otherwise never had a chance now do. One such idea is from CT&T United, newly based in the United States. The company has announced plans for a proprietary manufacturing, sales and service model called RASS or Regional Assembly and Sales System. This system will help to support the companies U.S. market launch of their all-electric vehicles and each RASS will cost between $8-$10 million to build.
[social_buttons] “Just as just-in-time parts delivery from Toyota revolutionized the auto industry, we believe the RASS system from CT&T has the potential to do the same by regionalizing manufacturing and sales and allowing us to offer EVs at an incredibly reasonable price point,” said Young Gi Lee, Chairman and company founder. “RASS will also speed up our national rollout so that we an stay on the leading edge of the EV market.”
The CT&T RASS model is a revolutionary departure from conventional automotive manufacturing models and is characterized by the use of multiple facilities in numerous market areas that decentralizes the manufacturing process bringing it closer to the markets being served and ultimately keeping the production costs down.
The RASS facilities will be located in strategic market locations based on research demonstrating the demand for green vehicles along with a highly skilled workforce. I spoke with the company spokesman, Curt Westlake, who told me that they haven’t officially announced where the facilities would be located but each regional plant will manufacture and source the parts and then build the entire car. In addition, the company is still determining where its headquarters and research and development facilities will be sited but more than likely they will be on either the West Coast or the Southeast.
“The RASS system creates a competitive difference for CT&T by broadening our economic impact into multiple regions and communities,” said Joseph J. White, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. “Owners of our cars can feel good about supporting a product that has very low environmental impact and is being made close to home.”
The first vehicle to come off the assembly line will be the eZone which is a low-speed car, or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) that has a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour (mph). The first cars for sale in the states will come from overseas but gradually, as the RASS plants are up and running, the cars will be completely manufactured here in the states said Westlake. He also noted that the cars are the only ones to pass federal front and side crash tests. “It really is a car,” said Westlake. “Other EVs don’t offer the performance, driving nature or safety of our vehicles.”
The company utilizes in-wheel electric motors that are lighter weight (27 percent less than conventional motors), boast improved energy efficiency (by as much as 95 percent), better performance (doubled driving distance range) and increased power. The increased safety of the EV is also supported by its dual independent circuit hydraulic disk brakes and four-wheel MacPherson strut independent suspension.
The eZone line of electric cars will range from $10,000 to $16,000 fully loaded. Owners can expect to spend between $5-$10 per month to operate their EV. The eZone is a two-door passenger vehicle and Westlake said that people will be amazed at how roomy and comfortable the EV is. It has a trunk storage area and it can accommodate the items purchased in town during a day of shopping or going to the grocery store. “They are a blast to drive,” said Westlake. CT&T is also working on a four passenger model as well as models that will be able to drive on the highway.
In addition, CT&T will launch electric buses in 2010. Moving forward, CT&T will produce and market City Drive Electrical Vehicles (EVs), Mid-speed Electric Vehicles, High-speed Electric Vehicles, and Utility Electric passenger vehicles. They will also produce and market both in the states and abroad several different battery technologies including Lead Acid, Advanced Lead Acid, Lithium Polymer and Lithium Ion.