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Remy to supply motors for all-electric Equinox

August 10, 2010

PENDLETON—Remy International on Tuesday signed a contract with a Cincinnati-based electric-car-conversion company to supply motors for an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Equinox.

Pendleton-based Remy said the three-year deal with Advanced Mechanical Products Inc. is relatively small compared with its other Remy motor-supply contracts but is Remy's first contract for an all-electric vehicle. Terms were not disclosed.

"This is going [to compete] directly with the Nissan Leaf," AMP CEO Steve Burns told Remy employees Tuesday morning.

The electric Equinox has a 150-mile range, which is about 50 percent more than the Leaf, which goes on sale late this year, Burns said. The vehicle will use two Remy motors each—one at each drive wheel.

AMP is pricing its version at around $50,000, after government credits. That's at least $10,000 more than the Leaf, although AMP and Remy executives said the SUV will win over consumers with more conventional features and design.
 
"A mother could actually take a couple of kids to a soccer game," Remy President Jay Pittas said during a contract signing at Remy headquarters.

Versions of AMP's Equinox as well as the company's all-electric Pontiac Solstice were made available for Remy employees to drive.

"It's so nice not to have to go to China for a part," Burns told Remy employees, who cheered.

Remy already supplies electric motors for hybrid vehicles produced by General Motors, including its Cadillac Escalade hybrid. And, last year, Remy nailed down a contract to supply electric motors for Daimler AG’s Mercedes ML-450.

Remy motors also are used in hybrid bus powertrains developed by Indianapolis-based Allison Transmission.

Last year, Remy unveiled a line of multipurpose motors designed for use in various vehicles as a way to keep costs lower than those of custom-designed applications. AMP's Burns said Remy won the contract based in part on its products’ light weight, high performance, low heat and favorable cost.

Remy, a former division of GM that also makes alternators and starter motors, has been trying to diversify its customer base, particular after GM last year announced it would seek to produce its own electric motors for hybrids and reduce its sourcing of the units from outside motor suppliers.
 
Remy CEO John Weber last fall said within five years hybrid components could amount to one-third of Remy sales.

AMP has been converting Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice cars to run entirely on electricity, powered by lithium-ion batteries—selling more than 125 of the sports cars so far, Burns said.

AMP sees its bread-and-butter sales coming from popular Equinox, however.

A Remy executive declined to estimate what the AMP contract could be worth, saying prospects for the electric car market are still unclear.

AMP recently finished as a finalist in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize contest for best-performing all-electric vehicle. Although its Saturn Sky didn't finish first, it was certified as attaining the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon.

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