GreenPower Ramping Up Electric Commercial Vehicles, Electric School Buses, Autonomous Transit …
I recently spoke with Fraser Atkinson, CEO and Chairman of GreenPower Motor Co. (NASDAQ: GP), following a stream of recent announcements. The company has been on our radar at least since 2015, but it’s had a little flurry of activity in the past year, and very recently landed a major contract that could lead to much, much more. Let’s start with that.
Forest River, Inc. (“Forest River”), a Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) company with revenues exceeding $5 billion, signed an exclusive purchase agreement with GreenPower for 150 GreenPower EV Star Cab and Chassis (“EV Star CC”). If all goes well with that partnership, though, this is just the “small start” of partnership that could lead to thousands of new electric vehicles.
These initial EV Star CC, which are expected to be delivered over 36 months, will be used in “Cutaway minibuses and Type B and C Recreational Vehicles.”
GreenPower went public at the end of August 2020, and it’s currently at just 17 deliveries a quarter, but it has established a highly profitable production and sales system even at this small scale. A recent company snapshot states that its 3rd quarter revenue was $2,398,781, cost of revenue was $1,488,974, and gross profit was thus $909,807 (37.9% of revenues). Overall, the company’s gross profit was 30% of revenue, more than $4 million.
GreenPower recently increased its B.E.A.S.T. electric school bus production from 5/month to 10/month but expects to go much higher in the months and years to come as school board interest in electric school buses rises. It has production plans for 100 at the moment. This is definitely a topic we’ll come back to much further in coming months. The technology is ripe, and as GreenPower writes, “President Joe Biden has pledged to convert 480,000 domestic school buses to zero emissions by 2030.” There’s a lot of room to ramp up production of electric school buses at GreenPower’s facilities and many others.
As I spoke to Atkinson, I got a better picture of how involved and flexible the company is when building chassis for the variety of electric commercial vehicles it can power. It pulls together the battery cells necessary for the task, creates the battery packs, puts together the full powertrain, and can integrate a wide variety of autonomous-driving hardware in order to enable different levels of autonomy.
In fact, the latter is one of its main claims to fame recently. It just delivered its first fully autonomous (“Level 5”) transit vehicle to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA). The vehicle is a collaboration with Perrone Robotics. “The JTA is currently working with local colleges, medical campuses, and other partners to create the nation’s first public transportation network powered by autonomous vehicles. GreenPower’s fully autonomous EV Star, developed in collaboration with Perrone Robotics, is expected to enter service in February 2021 after an initial calibration period.” The vehicle is called the AV Star, a spin off of GreenPower’s signature EV Star van.
With the big push to build more electric vehicles in the United States and get many more on the road, GreenPower has gotten a head start. “The EV Star is the first in its class to be Altoona tested and certified and Buy America Act Compliant — which provides access to highly lucrative federal incentives,” the company told CleanTechnica. “The FTA will subsidize up to 80% of the purchase price for vehicles that are Buy America Act Compliant and Altoona Tested by eligible transit properties.” 80%!
But aside from Forest River and Jacksonville Transportation Authority, who are GreenPower’s customers? Here’s a list:
- Green Commuter
- Creative Bus Sales
- The Nation’s largest bus dealer
- Sacramento Regional Transit
- Jacksonsville, FL Transportation Authority
- San Diego Airport Parking Company
- City of Vancouver
- Port of Oakland Seaport
- USSF (University of California San Francisco)
- UCLA (University of Los Angeles)
I’ve followed GreenPower with modest interest for years, but I’m quite excited at this stage of its life to see how it grows, matures, evolves, and helps to electrify fleets across the United States if not beyond. What are your thoughts on this young-ish company and its growth potential?
A few other recent stories about GreenPower are here: