Oregon College Goes EV Via Local Tech

When it comes to its new electric truck pilot program, Southern Oregon University (SOU) is shopping local. Their new truck conversions will be supplied by Ashland’s own Ambiente Motors, an electric vehicle start-up that’s been hard at work developing low-cost, light-duty truck electric components and yes, a conversion kit, known as the the IC³, for commercial vehicles.

According to Ambiente’s blog, over the next 12 to 18 months, Ambiente will convert one of SOU’s existing landscape maintenance trucks using its own electric power train design. (Although the company is also focused on the Brazilian market, Ambiente’s conversion kit was designed principally for American-made pick-up trucks). The company’s team includes executives and electric vehicle veterans from Barefoot Motors, Ford, Café Electric and ZAP.

oregon traffic

image via Ambiente Motors

Apparently, SOU has been in the market for electric trucks for  a while now, but hadn’t found any that met their needs–until they checked in their own backyard, so to speak, in Ashland, Oregon.  Director of Facilities for SOU Drew Gilliland cited the conversion factor–i.e., being able to use the trucks they already have–instead of having to purchase new trucks as a key factor in their decision to work with the local start-up. The University’s goal is to convert its entire small and medium duty truck fleet to alternative fuel by 2016.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.