Finding Profitable EV Niches
With the possible exception of Toyota's Prius, golf cars, and folk lifts, there aren't many electric vehicles or manufacturers that are, at least at this point in time, profitable. It's possible, as few EV converters have found, to make a few dollars off the odd project here and there, especially, if the customer has deep pockets and a tolerance for risk. Beyond that, it's a rough business.
Yet, according to Victor Juarez, the founder of the CLEan VEhicle Research (CLEVER) Institute, there are, by his count, some thirty niches applications that could be profitably exploited, ones that the large OEMs find too small to dabble in, but could generate a nice income for a savvy entrepreneur.
Juarez has spent the last six years searching for those niches in both this native Mexico City and across the United States. He has developed programs in Mexico City to convert taxis and Ruta buses to electric. His latest project is development of a low-cost, electric-assist pedicab for the 28,000 operators in Mexico City alone. In this video, which is the first ten minutes of a nearly hour-long talk during the 2012 EV Expo in Tampa, Florida, He shares his views, which are often critical of car makers, but always plain spoken.
His impassioned talk is just one of some 15 presentations and panels featured during the three-day Expo that included a dozen all-electric and extended range EVs including the Fisker Karma, Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF, and Mitsubishi i. Also on the floor were some of the finest electric car conversions in Florida. In the coming days and weeks, EV World will feature segments of those presentations.