News Column

Hispanic Electric Vehicle Company Debuts in So. Calif.

Oct. 30, 2012

Broos Campbell -- HispanicBusiness.com

Ramon Alvarez C. with his new line of around-town vehicles. Photo courtesy of Alvarez Electric Motors Co.
Ramon Alvarez C. with his new line of around-town vehicles. Photo courtesy of Alvarez Electric Motors Co.

Ramon Alvarez C., a successful Lincoln-Mercury and Jaguar dealer in California's Inland Empire, is driving into the future of the commuter car industry with a new line of electric vehicles.

Alvarez Electric Motors Co. (AEMC) is producing a line of electric cars, trucks and vans designed for getting around town cheaply and efficiently.

A starting price of under $10,000 for AEMC's Eco-E Commuter Car "prompts a two-car family to buy a third car without having an impact on their wallet," Mr. Alvarez, president and owner of AEMC, told HispanicBusiness.

"We are projecting our revenues to be moderate at first but grow as we sign up dealers."

A past president of the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Alvarez founded the company in 2010.

He and his business partner, Ralph Megna, have put their life savings into the project, along with "a tremendous amount of sweat equity, blood and tears," Mr. Alvarez said. "All good, though."

Here to Stay

"As far as being Hispanic, and proud of it, the business is ethnicity neutral," said Mr. Alvarez. "But I think we are the first Hispanic (electric) automotive distributor in the United States. That's a great advantage."

Any challenges presented by being a Hispanic businessman in the green automobile marketplace "are ones that you can overcome," he said. "For one, the electric car is here to stay."

Major players are giving some gas to the sector.

Opportunities in the green auto sector are rife, "with Nissan spending $1 billion to launch its Leaf, Chevy and Ford collectively spending the same, Toyota and BMW in the game, Honda, Mitsubishi and Mercedes very interested in electric vehicles," Mr. Alvarez said.

"We are launching with three vehicles, Eco-E, Eco-Truck and Eco-Van," he said.

The Eco-E starts at $9,995, the EcoTruck at $16,995 and the EcoVan at $17,995. The vehicles are intended for running errands and other in-town trips, with range and speed limited to 40 miles and 25 mph, respectively.

"Our marketing strategy is to reach the mass market with this very inexpensive selling price," Mr. Alvarez said. "Our selling strategy is a solution-based strategy versus the conventional way of selling cars."

That means both educating consumers on the advantages of electric cars and being a company "with very deep environmental concerns. We have to care about our environment. It's not just about selling cars."

That said, the company's presentation at the July National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers in Las Vegas went "very well -- lots of interest," said Mr. Megna.

Where to Get an Eco-E

AEMC's e-vehicles will be sold in EcoCentre franchises around the country. The initial outlet, Fladeboe EcoCentre, opened this summer in Irvine, Calif., and is operated by Fladeboe Automotive Group. The group includes Honda, Volkswagen, GMC, Buick and Coda franchises.

"They just received their first shipment of electric vehicles, and their grand opening is scheduled for the first of the year," said Mr. Alvarez.

AEMC also has signed letters of intent with dealerships in Riverside, San Bernardino, Glendale and Canoga Park in Southern California and San Jose in the Bay Area.

The company envisions EcoCentres as places where green-minded shoppers can ask questions "and get comfortable with taking the step into electric vehicle ownership," Mr. Megna, vice president of operations for AEMC, stated in a news release.

The price point for AEMC's e-vehicles means "many people will be making their first purchase of an alternative-fuel vehicle with us," he added.

"If you don't want to spend $20 to go grocery shopping," said Mr. Alvarez, "you can get into our Eco-E and go shopping in our car that will cost approximately 3 cents a mile to operate."

AEMC has five dealers "ready to open up between now and the first quarter of the year," Mr. Alvarez said. "Exciting times ahead."

Eco Specs

Eco-E Commuter Car
Motor: 3.1 KW nominal
Battery: 48 volts, absorbed glass mat (AGM)
On-board Charger: 110 to 230 VAC
Charge time: 8 to 10 hours
Charging cycles: 700+
Vehicle Dimensions: 90x52x68 inches
Weight (empty): 1210 lbs
Cargo Capacity: 440+ lbs
Speed: 25 mph (regulation limited)
Range: 30 to 40 miles
Brakes: hydraulic drum (front & rear)
MSRP: $9,995

EcoTruck
Motor: 6 KW nominal - 13 KW peak
Battery: 96 volts, absorbed glass mat (AGM)
On-board Charger: 110 to 230 VAC
Charge time: 8 to 10 hours
Charging cycles: 700+
Vehicle Dimensions: 159x60x73 inches
Weight (empty): 2367 lbs
Cargo Capacity: 1000+ lbs
Speed: 25 mph (regulation limited)
Range: 25 to 40 miles
Brakes: hydraulic disk (front), hydraulic drum (rear)
MSRP: $16,995 Options: Factory installed air conditioning

EcoVan
Motor: 6 KW nominal - 13 KW peak
Battery: 96 volts, absorbed glass mat (AGM)
On-board Charger: 110 to 230 VAC
Charge time: 8 to 10 hours
Charging cycles: 700+
Vehicle Dimensions: 145x59x73 inches
Weight (empty): 2,700 lbs
Seating: Buckets in front, one or two bench seats
Speed: 25 mph (regulation limited)
Range: 25 to 40 miles
Brakes: hydraulic disk (front), hydraulic drum (rear)
MSRP: $17,995 Options: Factory installed air conditioning

Source: Alvarez Electric Motors Co.


For more coverage on the automotive industry, please see HispanicBusiness' Auto Channel



Source: HispanicBusiness.com (c) 2012. All rights reserved.


Story Tools