If hybrid and electric vehicles can catch on with businesses around the world, they stand to make a big impact on transportation emissions. Emerald Automotive, a British-owned startup, is hoping that by 2015 they can deliver a plug-in hybrid van that offers an electric driving range of 66 miles, backed by a gas engine that can keep the van going for almost 400 more miles after that.
If this idea seems familiar, well you’re probably thinking of Bright Automotive, another startup with a similar plan. Alas, once funding from the Department of Energy failed to come through in a timely manner, the start-up closed shop. Emerald also pursued DOE money, but withdrew its request as hearings for the cash got pushed further and further down the road.
Even so, Emerald seems to have a solid business plan that relies on realistic goals and break-even points. Their debut vehicle is the creatively-named t-001, and it isn’t slated to go on sale until 2015. When it does though, a 25 kWh battery pack will provide up to 66 miles of pure electric driving. A gas engine will then allow the van to go another 397 miles, for a total driving range of 463 miles.
That is more driving than most small businesses need to do, yet the t-001 will appeal to those that mostly do around-town deliveries, but still need a vehicle that can make the occasional long-haul. In that regard, Emerald has the market pegged. While pricing information isn’t cited, Emerald claims a pay-back on the price premium of 17 months in Europe and 48 months in the U.S. At least for U.S. drivers, pay back is a long-term proposition.
Yet Emerald has modest sales goals, hoping for 5,000 sales in its first year, and following up with 10,000 the next. Perhaps they’ve seen the lukewarm reaction other automakers have gotten, and decided to temper expectations from the beginning. Yet if their product is as sound as they say, and battery prices come down in cost, Emerald Automotive could deliver a much-needed jolt of fuel efficiency into the shipping and delivery industry.
Source: Plug-In Cars