Boulder firm revs up high-tech industry with electric trucks
The Denver Post
The Boulder-based creators of a zero-emission delivery truck – which runs 120 miles before an eight-hour recharge is required – are setting up a 60,000-square-foot factory to begin production.
“The air’s going to be a whole lot cleaner,” said Boulder Electric Vehicle owner Carter Brown.
The company has received 25 orders and letters of intent to buy its aerodynamic trucks, which will cost $100,000 each, Brown said.
While four states and 15 cities have expressed interest, small businesses appear most intrigued with prospects for long-term savings.
“I don’t know why plumbers can’t lead this country in being ecologically sensitive,” said Precision Plumbing and Heating owner Tom Robichaud, who ordered one truck and aims to convert his entire fleet of 20 diesel vehicles – if the cost comes down.
The opening of a full-fledged electric truck factory is the latest in a burst of battery-powered vehicle activity in Colorado.
UQM Technologies, a 70-employee electronics and motor maker that received $45 million in federal economic stimulus funding, is opening a new factory at Frederick and hiring hundreds more workers, said vice president for technology Jon Lutz.
The recent activity is raising hopes of Colorado becoming a center for the brain behind a future booming industry.
“We see Colorado as a place that can help the vehicle industry move into the future,” said Todd Hartman, spokesman for Gov. Bill Ritter’s energy office. “While it might not be manufacturing of vehicles, it’s going to be batteries, engines and alternative fuels that power them.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to help this industry with the limited funds we have,” Hartman said.
Greening the nation’s delivery fleets, which faces fewer regulatory hurdles than developing electric cars, is an enterprise where startups in Colorado and elsewhere “may make a much greater impact,” said Bob Weed, vice president of original equipment manufacturing for the Copper Development Association, who monitors research nationwide.
Boulder Electric Vehicle’s venture ranks among the first in the nation.
The company’s prototype truck, adorned with a “no oil, no pollution, no problem” logo, was created in a building north of Boulder where auto engineers shared space with circus performers – jugglers, trapeze artists and high-wire acrobats.