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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.


Amp Electric Lines up Cool Deal in Iceland

Luxury battery SUV deal should generate $100 mil.

by on May.11, 2011

Gisli Gislason, CEO of Northern Lights Energy, takes delivery of the battery-powered ML sport-ute from Amp CEO Jim Taylor.

Indiana-based electric vehicle maker Amp electric has landed a major deal that should be worth about $100 million over the next four year, a significant sum for a battery-car start-up.

Amp will deliver a Mercedes-Benz ML sport-utility vehicle, today, that it has converted to run on battery power.  It will be the first of 20 the conversion company has been contracted to supply to Iceland’s Northern Lights, by mid-year.  Their agreement then calls for production to ramp up to 250 vehicles annually, or 1,000 in total.

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While neither company would discuss the specific price per vehicle, Amp CEO Jim Taylor said the Northern Lights contract, which includes various support and training functions, will be worth $100 million.

“This is an ideal relationship,” said Taylor, who previously headed the Hummer and Cadillac divisions for General Motors before joining Amp early this year.