Although Gulf Stream Coach Inc. has no formal agreement to build hybrid electric pickup trucks for Electric Motors Corp. (EMC), an executive with the Nappanee, Ind., RV manufacturer says he expects Gulf Stream to stay involved with the groundbreaking ”green” power project unveiled more than a year ago.
”Right now, there has been no change in the status of our position,” said Claude Donati, Gulf Stream vice president of motorized. ”(EMC) has assured us that things are going to remain the same. We look forward to helping support them where we can.”
EMC, with local headquarters in Wakarusa, Ind., announced in 2008 that it intends to build electric-hybrid pickups based on the Ford F-150 for fleet markets, including municipalities, utility and construction companies, the rental-car business and state and national parks.
The company was seeking federal grants and loans to get the company started, and EMC recently named Frank Jenkins, a 28-year executive at General Motors Corp., to be president and provide focus for the electric-vehicle startup.
EMC intends to debut its recreational version of a hybrid-electric truck, the Flash, in April at the New York International Auto Show, according to EMC CFO Ralph King in an interview this week with The Elkhart (Ind.) Truth.
King told The Truth that although EMC’s relationship with Gulf Stream was never solidified, talks between the two companies continue.
”We like the people there,” King said of Gulf Stream. ”We like the quality of work there. We think it’s a perfect fit.”
”There was no formal, written contractual obligation,” Donati told RVBUSINESS.com. ”There was an understanding that when they get further along with their development as a company and they received the orders they were hoping to receive, we were going to be the company that builds the product for them.
”We didn’t want to put any requirements on EMC and we didn’t want to put any requirements on us.”
Donati said talks between the companies are focusing on the manufacture and distribution of EMC products though EMC dealers that is unrelated to Gulf Stream’s dealer network.
”What I want to make clear is that when they get their orders, we will build the product for them,” Donati said. ”It’s not that we are partners in the business with them. They are going to get orders and they are going to give them to somebody like Gulf Stream that has the facilities, manpower and manufacturing know-how to build them.”