Amp Electric Vehicles, an Ohio-based company that specializes in converting standard gasoline-engine vehicles into all electrics, brought its latest model, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Jeep conversion follows closely on the heels of Amp’s last conversion, a Mercedes Benz ML 350, which the company started selling last spring. Amp was eager to get the new Jeep electric vehicle (EV) to market to provide an American-made alternative to its Mercedes conversion. But the Jeep and the Benz will share many features, including electric drive system components. Additionally, both the Jeep and the Benz will be assembled in Amp’s plant in Loveland, Ohio.
The new Jeep will pair its 37.6 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion phosphate battery pack to a pair of rear-mounted Remy 152-kilowatt motors which should produce about 200 horsepower with a range of between 80 and 100 miles and a zero-to-60 time of under 10 seconds.
But other than taking a look under the hood, customers would be hard pressed to tell an electric version from its gasoline cousin. The new Amp is virtually identical to the Jeep except for a decal that reads “100% Electric” on the driver’s side door.
Amp also announced pricing for the new electric. The new Cherokee conversion will sell for $57,400 as a two-wheel drive, which is just below $50,000 after the $7,500 federal income tax credit. The four-wheel-drive version will cost $59,400. In comparison, the Amp Mercedes conversion sells for $77,400 as a two-wheel drive and $79,400 as a four-wheel drive.
According to a blog post in the New York Times, Amp could realize some significant cost savings for the Jeep if they could secure what’s known as a glider agreement with Jeep’s parent company Chrysler. When a company has an agreement to buy a glider car, it arrives without a large portion of its internal combustion technology and other unneeded accessories. As it stands now, Amp must purchase a complete Cherokee, strip it of its engine and finish its conversion. Then, to recoup costs, they have to look for a buyer of the surplus engine.
While Amp has only completed one prototype of the Jeep, the company also introduced the car’s very first dealer, Dana Hackney, a multiline dealer from Cincinnati. Amp hopes to start marketing the Jeep to both fleets and individual customers by the fall.