Electrifying the Mundane
By Bill Moore
They aren't glamorous, but they are vital, and Motiv Power's Jim Castelaz sees an opportunity to help them clean up their acts by electrifying our school buses, delivery vans, and trash trucks, reducing their noise and eliminating their pollution.
Jim Castelaz is, technically speaking, on extended 'leave' from his quest for an engineering degree from Stanford University. He's been that for five years now. Whether or not he ever gets a chance to go back and complete his course work will depend on the success of his startup, Motiv Power Systems. Steve Jobs never finished college, neither did Bill Gates. When you've got a great idea, you don't let the lack of a diploma stand in your way.
Where Elon Musk chose to focus on sleek electric cars, Jim Castelaz picked a far more prosaic market: electrifying school buses, shuttles, and trash trucks. Using his electric engineering knowledge, he has created a scalable electronic control system that turns these mundane, obviously unsexy vehicles into clean, quiet workhorses the deliver children to school and pick up our trash without the carcinogenic pollutants of their diesel powered counterparts.
Motiv Power is still very much in start up phase, relying on friends & family financing, along with government grants to develop prototypes like the Kings County school bus, which is based on the Ford F450 chassis, and the trash truck built for the city of Chicago.
In this two-part EV World Dialogues interview, Castelaz talks about his company, their projects, and where he sees his industry going as more fleets start to consider adopting electric alternatives like those offered by Motiv Power and its automotive partners.
Video Part 1
Video Part 2
Originally published: 02 May 2014
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