American Electric Cars Head To Iceland

Iceland, after making a big push toward hydrogen-powered cars just a few years ago, is now turning its focus to electric vehicles (EVs), and an Ohio company is a big beneficiary of the shift. AMP Holdings, based in suburban Cincinnati, has announced a five-year deal to sell 1,000 of its SUV electric conversions to Northern Lights Energy (NLE) of Reykjavik.

As AMP CEO Steve Burns explained in a press release, Iceland, with its vast geothermal resources, is perfect for EVs. “Everything is present — a low cost of electricity coupled with the high cost of gasoline, the inherent short commutes of an island community and the desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil,” Burns said.

AMP Holdings, electric-conversion SUV

image via AMP Holdings

Iceland had begun the 21st century aiming to use its easy access to water and electricity to create a hydrogen-based economy, but that plan stalled with the financial crisis that nearly sunk the island-nation’s economy in 2008. A slightly less ambitious — by Icelandic standards — embrace of electric vehicles has now emerged.

AMP was in the news a couple of months ago when it said it reached a deal with an unnamed major vehicle manufacturer — known in the trade as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) — to do a prototype electric conversion on the OEM’s SUV. AMP is already doing conversions of the Chevrolet Equinox, and in November agreed to convert three gas-burning Saturn Vue SUVs in the DTE Energy fleet to electric.

The Iceland deal doesn’t specify an SUV brand or brands, but NLE said there’s a healthy appetite for the vehicles in the country. “The SUV segment now captures approximately 35% of the Icelandic car market, and while most industry players are focused on other market segments, we have high hopes for this segment and in AMP’s market-ready technology,” CEO Gisli Gislason said in a statement.

AMP said it hopes to deliver the first electric SUV to Iceland early next year for use in a demonstration project. Assuming all goes as planned, NLE said it would then purchase “a variety of all-electric SUVs from AMP for utilization within fleet operations as well as for re-sale within the Company’s market region.”

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Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.