Acquisition Adds EVs to a Growing First Priority Product Line,
Current Climate Is ‘As Good an Entry Point as Ever’s Been Seen’
New Jersey-based First Priority GreenFleet has acquired the assets of Electric Vehicles International in Stockton, Calif. – adding to a growing product line of alternative fuel vehicles. First Priority GreenFleet, “a total solutions provider to sustainable fleets,” is a unit of the specialty vehicle supplier First Priority Global. updated March 9
“Under the GreenFleet banner, we intend to offer our customers a full range of zero- and low-emission options that will allow them to select the products that best fit their needs,” First Priority GreenFleet CEO Alex Cherepakov said in a release.
“To enhance our electric vehicle offerings, we set our sights on acquiring an industry leader,” he said. “EVI’s 20 years of pioneering efforts have resulted in significant deliveries to world-class customers, an achievement that will provide us with advanced technologies with over 4 million road miles.”
Service Is a Priority…
The standout EVI customer is UPS, which began taking delivery from EVI, in 2012, of 100% battery-electric, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp-base vehicles, with UQM drivelines and lithium iron phosphate batteries from (at that time sister company) Valence Technology (F&F, August 5, 2012). Other EVI customers include Frito-Lay and the Pacific Gas & Electric utility.
UQM dislcosed a further order from EVI for its PowerPhase HD 220 electric drives, for Freightliner and FCCC all-electric medium-duty commercial trucks and walk-in vans, late this past summer (F&F, September 1, 2015).
First Priority GreenFleet says it plans “to revolutionize the industry with a customer-centric service network.” The firm, a unit of First Priority Global, promises both existing and new customer a “white glove” service experience.
…a ‘Core Competency’
“In 2016, we will rapidly mobilize our core expertise to implement a bi-coastal manufacturing and engineering capability with an extensive service network which will set a new standard for the industry,” Cherepakov said.
First Priority Global offers a variety of such specialty vehicles as ambulances, fire trucks, and school buses. Citing the emergency units, “These vehicles have to work, or people die,” Cherepakov told F&F. “We’re used to service being a core competency.”
UPS, Frito-Lay, PG&E
He estimates the number of EVI vehicles in service today at 145 to 150. “We’re going to craft a path forward with the existing customers to make sure these vehicles stay on the road,” he says.
“Since 1998, First Priority has followed a methodical growth strategy based on providing our specialty vehicle customers cutting edge technology, high-value products for their capital equipment dollars and laser-focused aftermarket service,” parent CEO Bob Freeman said in the EVI assets acquisition announcement.
“We are a solutions-centric company, offering our discerning clients the best our industry has to offer. We believe that the combination of our experience led by our customer-centric focus will be well received by the market.”
An Excellent Time to Buy
The EVI assets acquired by First Global GreenFleet include the EVI company logo and brand, and a 75,000-square-foot leased facility in Stockton.
The value of the acquisition is undisclosed, says Cherepakov. But, in view of the current low price of conventional fuels and waning interest in alternatives, “I’m not sure there’s ever been a better time to buy into this space,” he says. Citing the example of New York City’s commitment to EVs (F&F, December 1, 2015), the current climate is “as good an entry point as ever’s been seen.”
EVI had about two dozen employees when it was shut down last week to prepare for the handover, Cherepakov says. Many will be retained. “The entire service team has already returned and started today under GreenFleet,” he said Tuesday evening.
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Source: First Priority GreenFleet with Fleets & Fuels follow-up