According to one analysis, China will reach their 2020 goal of being the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in part by focusing on low speed vehicles. The author states that the Chinese government believes this will help them develop expertise for highway capable electric passenger vehicles. This reasoning is disputed in the analysis and I would agree. In fact , one of the reasons California reduced how many credits an LSV is worth in their vehicle emissions regimen is that they did not believe the technology developed for LSVs was transferrable to highway capable electric vehicles. What will be interesting to see in China, where LSVs are more likely to be a consumer’s first vehicle ownership experience, is if LSVs will have greater traction than in the US, where they are typically being purchased by consumers with a lifelong experience with highway capable vehicles. Learn more: Plugincars.com
New Holland, manufacturer of the Rustler UTV, is now offering some new paint options and accessories for the vehicle.
The Stallion option features Black Stallion paint, sporty decals, canopy, chrome tube bumper, speedometer, and front and rear receivers. Customers also choose bench or bucket seats, alloy or black rims, and mud or all-terrain tires…. The Realtree Max 4 Camo features black seats, dash, cargo box and rims. Other accessories available include bed liners, brush and rock guards, gun boots and hitch features.
The Courtyard Charleston Historic District hotel in Charleston, SC includes use of an LSV as part of their “Be Keen and Go Green” package for guests. Guests have 24 hour access to the hotel’s Lightning Bugz vehicle, an LSV, to tour the city’s historic district and other locations. The package includes “…overnight accommodations, a tote bag with sun block, detailed map of Charleston outlining unique alleyways, attractions and city parking, breakfast for two in the Courtyard’s own Bistro and 24-hour access to the hotel’s Lightning Bugz vehicle. ” Learn more: Marketwire.com
In conjunction with Draper Laboratory, engineers at Olin College in Needham, MA have been using artificial intelligence, sensors systems and other technology to automate and remotely operate a Gator XUV. The program is in its second year and each small group of students spends two semesters on a project.
The Gator XUV can now identify trails and maneuver around obstacles. Beginning with their college campus’ car lanes, the team of students soon put the customized equipment to the test in forest areas, where the vehicle had to operate in places GPS was not available.
Drive Green Challenge – For a third year John Deere will be bringing their Drive Green Challenge to select dealerships in the Midwest and East Coast. A total of 60 dealerships will be visited by a customized promotional tractor trailer with various Deere equipment for test drives and demonstrations.
A unique Gator utility vehicle – the “Tail Gator” XUV, complete with speakers and other gadgets – will be featured at the sites. In addition, there will be a drawing for a similar machine at the end of the summer, to be given to one visitor to the Challenge’s various dates.
Gator XUV Configurator – John Deere has added a new feature to their website, a configurator for their Gator XUV model. The features allows for a range of vehicle customizations which are then sent to a dealer for a quote. Learn more: Machinefinder.com
John Deere Sponsors Iowa NASCAR Event – An Iowa Speedway event has been renamed the John Deere Dealer’s 250. The NASCAR event on May 22nd is expected to attract over 50,000 fans including a few thousand John Deere equipment owners as part of a dealer tie-in. Ten free one-year leases for a Gator utility vehicle will be given away as part of the promotion. Learn more: Machinefinder.com
Applied Geo Technologies Wins Club Car Supplier Award – Applied Geo Technologies recently received the 2011 Overall Operations Excellence Award from Club Car. The company supplies Club Car with cabling and wiring harnesses for all of Club Car’s golf, transportation and utility vehicles. Learn more: Cisionwire.com
Tata Motors Launches Two Light Commercial Vehicles – Today Tata Motors launched the passenger carrier Magic Iris and a micro truck the Ace Zip. Both vehicles are for India’s domestic market. The vehicles are lesser versions of the Ace Magic and Ace respectively. The company plans to launch CNG powered variants in the future. Learn more: Business-Standard.com
Polaris Industries recently reported record earnings for the first quarter of 2011. Management reported sales of $537.2 million and net income of $47.3 million for the quarter compared to $361.7 million and $19.8 million in the first quarter of 2010. For the full year 2011 management expects sales to increase 17%-20% compared to 2010.
I listened to the earnings conference call and here are some of the highlights as it relates to the STOV markets.
Off-road vehicles which includes UTVs and ATVs exceeded expectations
International sales were up 21% in part do to side by side sales increasing 50% in Europe where these vehicles are supplanting ATVs as they have been in North America
Polaris is gaining market share in UTVs and ATVs as they outperform the market domestically and internationally.
Management reports side by side sales increasing more than double the overall market rate
RZR XP 900 launched in January is selling well
Bobcat branded vehicles they supply “ramped up nicely” and is gaining retail momentum
Military sales which includes some STOV products doubled in the first quarter
Diesel product started nicely and is expected to slowly but steadily develop with good opportunities in the UK, military and single fuel use segments such as farming and construction
Off-road parts, garments and accessories sales increased 22% in Q1
A recent article by Sharesleuth raises questions about the veracity of Kandi Technologies sales figures of their Coco electric vehicle. Sharesleuth compared the overall Coco sales figure of over 3,700 to what they could piece together from calling the limited number of dealers in the US. Their figures point to less than 1,000 vehicles sold in the US, a main Coco market. Other figures that raise doubts include:
Kandi said it sold 2,110 Cocos in its very first year on the market, which would have ranked it among the top companies in the industry.
Although one of Kandi’s investor-relations representatives said the company took orders for 1,200 orders Cocos in Oklahoma in 2009, state records show that only 328 buyers claimed tax credits for Coco purchases.
Kandi’s most recent SEC filings contain lower 2009 sales numbers for the Coco and other vehicles than the company originally reported — without any corresponding adjustments to revenue or earnings.