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AMP Takes on Tesla With Two AWD Battery SUVs

Ohio start-up will reveal Jeep, Mercedes battery-utes at NAIAS.

by on Dec.29, 2011

Amp's battery-powered version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee will go on sale in 2012.

Amp Electric Vehicles will be taking its place alongside some of the industry’s biggest players when it rolls out a pair of new battery-electric vehicles at the upcoming North American International Auto Show.

To be more precise they’re not entirely new; Amp is converting both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Mercedes-Benz ML-350 to run entirely on battery power.  Nonetheless, the Ohio-based start-up is betting that this approach can position it as one of the major players in the emerging electric vehicle market – and set it up as a key competitor to California’s Tesla Motors, which will launch its own mainstream battery-electric offering, the Model S, later in 2012.

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“Given SUVs make up one of the market’s biggest segments it just seemed the right place to focus on,” explained Amp founder and chairman Steve Burns.

It also helps that the underlying platform is shared between the Jeep and Mercedes utes – development having gotten well underway before the former DaimlerChrysler split apart.