Los Angeles investment firm Hackman Capital, which purchased the assets of Riverside, Calif.-based MVP RV Inc. April 19, is holding an auction Thursday to divest equipment acquired in the transaction.
The auction, administered by CMA Management Association, will begin at 9:30 (Pacific) and offer online bidding. CMA is allowing interested bidders to preview items today.
According to the CMA site, items will cover a cross section of items including woodworking and manufacturing equipment, tools, parts and several vehicles such as pick-up trucks and electric cars.
As reported by the Press Enterprise, Riverside, Hackman Capital, which buys land and buildings and then sells or leases them, was among a handful of bidders vying for the assets of MVP in last week’s auction – none with RV manufacturing intentions. The amount paid was undisclosed.
For more information visit www.cmaauctions.com.
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an article by the Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif., offering an in-depth look at the up-and-down ride endured by now shuttered MVP RV Inc. and its relationship with Chinese entrepreneur Winston Chung. To view the entire story click here.
MVP RV Inc., a Riverside, Calif., company that had high hopes of selling $5 billion worth of recreational vehicles to China, has shut down and will be sold off amid a dispute pitting one foreign investor against others.
After faltering in 2009, the company had been given a second chance and seemingly a financial windfall when Winston Chung, a Chinese businessman and inventor of a type of lithium batteries, came to its rescue.
Chung was named chairman and after making an initial investment, pledged another $310 million to MVP RV so it could export 30,000 recreational vehicles to China including all-electric models, a plan that earned the company a trip to Washington, D.C. and mention by the White House as it lauded trade opportunities with China.
There’s hope the company could return to recreational vehicle production again depending on who buys it, which could include Chung himself who has reportedly made offers. It wouldn’t be the first time MVP RV had been revived in its short life that’s included very public ups and downs.
Three former Thor California executives started the company in mid-2008 just as the recession was taking hold and by 2009 shut down the factory in search of an investor. At first, the company made the auto show rounds lauding a partnership with a South Korean firm to build all-electric cars, but the deal never happened. Then Chung came on board and MVP RV fired up a former Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. factory to build RVs, including electric prototypes with Chung’s battery technology.
But Chung had been one among a group of Chinese investors called Fadar International who now argue Chung shoved them out of the MVP investment, used the RV company as a method to gain international prominence and crafted a fraudulent document to claim full ownership of their stake in MVP RV, according to a lawsuit filed last August in Riverside County Superior Court.
The litigation is pending, but in mid-December Fadar International called for the shutdown of MVP RV and signed over its assets to a firm that liquidates companies to pay off creditors versus forcing a company to file for bankruptcy.
Shortly after, the company laid off its entire work force, about 200 people, but didn’t file a WARN notice with the state.
To read the entire article click here.
Brad Williams, president and CEO of Riverside, Calif.-based MVP RV Inc., was recently appointed to a seat on the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) board.
According to a press release, Williams takes up a vacated manufacturer seat with a term running until Sept. 30, 2013. RVIA board members fill seats from a variety of categories in the RV industry to help manage the affairs of the association.
RVIA recently revised the association’s bylaws to have interim appointments to the RVIA board serve the balance of the vacating incumbent’s term so that the election cycle is not disturbed. By maintaining this balance, elections each year will always be for seven seats and each seat will always be for a three-year term.
Williams is a 30-year veteran of the RV industry who previously worked for Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. and Thor California before co-founding MVP RV in 2008. He has also served on RVIA’s Industry Education Committee.
The MVP RV manufacturing facility, which encompasses almost 500,000 square feet of manufacturing space on 23 acres, produces travel trailers under the brand names Coast and Summit, fifth-wheels under the brand names Jazz and Destiny, and toy haulers under the brand names Impact, Vortex and Envy. The company employs more than 250 people and continues to grow its dealer network in the United States and Canada. For more information about MVP RV’s products, visit to www.mvprv.com.
Brad Williams, president and CEO of MVP RV Inc., has been appointed to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) board to fill the open Manufacturer seat vacated by John Rhymer of Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC.
Williams is a 25-year veteran of the RV industry who worked for Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. and Thor California before joining MVP RV in 2005. He has also served on RVIA’s Industry Education Committee.
His term will run until Sept. 30, 2013. RVIA recently revised the association’s bylaws to have interim appointments to the RVIA board serve the balance of the vacating incumbent’s term so that the election cycle is not disturbed. By maintaining this balance, elections each year will always be for seven seats and each seat will always be for a three-year term.
Riverside, Calif.-based MVP RV Inc. announced today (June 30) the introduction of the all-new 2012 Sonoma travel trailer line.
“Sonoma was developed with a clear direction and vision – affordability,” said Mark McFadden, Sonoma national sales and product manager. “We wanted to create a travel trailer line that the average working family could afford, without giving up the features these experienced campers demand.
“Southern California is among the strongest markets for affordably-priced travel trailers, and it is a very competitive market as well. Having the ability to build this low-cost trailer locally for our dealers is a tremendous advantage for us, and for them.”
McFadden said that Sonoma is a completely new line designed from the ground up featuring 12 floorplans, including eight SE models.
“There are many specific features and construction requirements needed to build a first-class, affordably-priced travel trailer,” he said. “Plus, shipping costs from areas outside the Southwest make it prohibitive to be truly price-competitive in this segment.”
Sonoma comes standard with such features as full-length drawer guides, 13,500 BTU A/C, ABS tub surround, brushed-nickel, high-rise kitchen faucet, raised-pane overhead cabinets, residential full-size 60”x80” mattress, silverware drawer, diamond plate gravel guard, exterior speakers and tinted safety glass windows.
McFadden said that Southern California’s Giant RV is the first dealer to sign up with Sonoma.
“We could not be happier with this product”, said Frankie Barouti, Giant RV president. “This is a very important segment of the market, and we truly believe that MVP RV has hit the mark with the Sonoma. We are pumped to be selling the newest, most affordable trailer in the market. We retailed our first one within two hours of it landing here.”
MVP RV builds travel trailers under the brand names Coast, Summit and Sonoma, and fifth-wheels under the brand names Jazz and Destiny. The company also manufactures the Class C Tahoe, and toy haulers under the brand names Impact, Vortex and Envy. For more information about MVP RV’s products, please go to www.mvprv.com.
Rapidly expanding MVP RV Inc. recently announced the hiring of Joe Hullings as regional sales manager for its toy hauler division that includes the Impact, Vortex and Envy brands.
According to a press release, Hullings brings over 12 years experience in the RV industry, holding positions with now-defunct Weekend Warrior Trailers Inc. and most recently Forest River Inc.
“We feel very fortunate to have Joe join our team”, said Scott Richgruber, national sales and product manager for the Riverside, Calif.-based builder’s toy hauler division. “Joe has the product background, dealer relationships, market knowledge and sales experience needed to help drive our toy hauler sales. In addition, Joe will assist in the development of new products as well as expanding our existing toy hauler lines. He will make an immediate impact for us.”
“I could not be more excited about this opportunity,” said Hullings. “MVP has a great team and a clear vision of what they want to accomplish as well as the direction they want to take this company. I look forward to contributing to their growth and success.”
MVP RV builds travel trailers under the brand names Sonoma, Summit, and Coast, fifth-wheels under the brand names Jazz and Destiny, toy haulers under the brand names Impact, Vortex and Envy, and Class C motorhomes under the brand name Tahoe.
The importance of exports for the national economic recovery and American job creation, reducing high foreign tariffs, developing U.S. product-friendly standards in China, along with the variety of ways that RVs can be used in recovery efforts in post-disaster locations were among the critical topics that MVP RV Inc. President and CEO Brad Williams recently discussed with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.
The two met on the University of Southern California (USC) campus in Los Angeles during the second stop of Locke’s “New Markets, New Jobs” small business outreach tour, along with other hand-picked business leaders. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and USC Marshall School of Business Dean James G. Ellis also met with Locke, who will be the nation’s next ambassador to China.
“I was honored to represent our company and the RV industry in this important discussion,” Williams stated in a news release. “Our homegrown company has weathered the economic storm and is now on the path to increase our domestic and export business.”
During the meeting, Locke discussed the importance of exports to America’s economic recovery and job creation, and the resources that the government is providing to connect local small- and medium-sized businesses with foreign buyers, especially those from the Asia-Pacific markets, in order to help them sell more overseas and hire more at home.
MVP RV will export more than 30,000 recreational vehicles worth in excess of $5 billion to China over the next three to four years. The company was cited by the Obama administration in conjunction with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit and is being heralded as a significant step in the continued development of the recreation vehicle industry in China. It will also boost employment at MVP RV, creating more than 1,200 American jobs.
Williams explained to the gathering that this export deal was a crucial factor in helping his company rebound and stressed that assistance from the federal government in lowering tariffs for U.S. exports and in urging China to adopt U.S. RV standards would help further open the market and boost RV industry exports.
Williams reminded the group that disasters like the one that hit Japan could unfortunately happen again. He underscored the importance of having RVs ready to be sent where they are needed as a critical emergency aid strategy. He said that RVs can be put to many uses during post-disaster operations, including holding medical/dental clinics, acting as emergency response vehicles, offering bathroom and shower facilities, and becoming temporary living units for disaster victims.
MVP RV has a facility in Riverside, Calif., which encompasses 500,000 square feet of manufacturing space on 23 acres. The facility currently produces a variety of RVs, including Class A and Class C motorhomes, as well as travel trailers, fifth-wheels and toy haulers.
Two years ago, Brad Williams halted production at his 250-employee recreation-vehicle company and eventually laid off more than 200 workers, unable to find cash to keep his factory humming when sales slowed.
“During the downturn, we went on the hunt for capital, but after 44 presentations we came up short,” Williams, 56, told the Wall Street Journal.
Today MVP RV Inc. is on the verge of hiring 1,200 workers and boosting production by some 30,000 motorhomes to 40,000 this year. The difference is a $310 million investment from a Chinese entrepreneur who sees Asia as an untapped market for American-made RVs.
“It’s almost something out of a fairy tale,” Williams says.
His Riverside, Calif., company is one of a growing number of small U.S. companies benefiting from a surge in foreign direct investment from China.
Once dominated by purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds, Chinese foreign investment is shifting to mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and taking stakes in new businesses.
Private-sector Chinese businesses and investors put nearly $5 billion into U.S. firms of all sizes last year, more than double the amount in 2009, according to the Rhodium Group, a New York research firm. That’s a small fraction of the more than $55 billion that has flowed from the U.S. to China, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
But the flow of private-sector investment toward the U.S. from China is expected to grow substantially, says Rhodium research director Thilo Hanemann.
It isn’t clear how much of the Chinese investment funds go to small businesses. Many of the deals with small businesses are under $10 million and involve Chinese investors looking for early-stage U.S. partners as an entree into the U.S. market and for exporting goods and services back to China,, says Siva Yam, president of the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce.
Recent deals have involved clean-energy, automotive, aerospace, information-technology and health-care industries, he says.
The White House, meanwhile, is encouraging small-business owners to seek global partnerships. Of the nearly 30 million small and midsize companies, only 1% currently sell goods abroad, trade figures show.
George Haley, a marketing professor at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, says although China investors provide welcome capital to U.S. companies, he worries that the ultimate goal in small-business investments is part of an effort by Beijing to relocate the companies to China and reap gains in technology, resources and jobs.
Williams, however, describes MVP RV’s deal as a partnership, not a takeover. “We’re not exporting jobs, we’re exporting products. We’re a homegrown company that happens to have a partner from China,” he says.
His lifeline arose almost by accident. When sales were slow last year, Mr Williams traveled with a team of MVP RV executives to Shenzhen, China, as part of plan to remake the company as an electric-car manufacturer. Talks with the Chinese electric-car company he’d gone to meet collapsed, but Williams was introduced to Winston Chung, whose company, Winston Global Energy, makes batteries for electric vehicles.
Over the course of several months, Chung became the majority shareholder in MVP RV in exchange for his $310 million investment. Williams and Chung hope to develop a battery-powered motor home for sale in the U.S. and export to China’s rapidly expanding automotive market.
Williams says although Chung is a majority owner, the company was very clear throughout negotiations that the MVP RV team will be running the business. He would regret being perceived as having sold out the company and offshoring jobs. Williams adds, “That fear is unfounded. As American businesses, we should not be fearful of partnering with foreign investors. This is something we need to do.”
Last month Mike Thompson RV was awarded the latest new innovative toy hauler travel trailer, the Impact, by MVP RV Inc.
The Impact is a perfect fit for Mike Thompson RV, providing a product consumers are seeking that the dealer did not represent. The Impact provides a high value yet price sensitive toyhauler travel trailer, according to a news release.
Now Mike Thompson RV and MVP are doing it again with the addition of the Vortex toy hauler travel trailer to their toy hauler lineup.
“MVP has designed the Vortex for the consumer looking for high value and a few more added features than the Impact,” the release continued. “The Vortex, is being offered at a much more affordable price then the competition. The team at MVP and Mike Thompson RV staff is incredibly excited to have this new product line. With the addition of the Vortex, Mike Thompson RV will be able to offer the consumer a great selection. This continued growth brings huge benefits not only the consumer, but the RV industry overall. Today’s customer is looking to get more toyhauler for less money and that is what the Vortex and Impact offer.”
Learn more about Mike Thompson RV Superstores at www.mikethompson.com.
MVP RV Inc., Rivreside, Calif., has announced that it has reached an agreement with Little Dealer Little Prices, located in Phoenix, Ariz., to retail Tahoe Class C RVs.
“We are very excited to be representing this new line,” Debbie Brunoforte, president of Little Dealer Little Prices, said in a news release. “We took our time before making this decision. We had other Class C’s brands available to us, but in the end, Tahoe’s price/value relationship, attention to detail, and West Coast production facility made them the clear choice for us.”
“We are very proud to be adding Little Dealer Little Prices to our growing MVP RV family,” said Niles Whitehouse, Tahoe’s national sales and product manager. “Little Dealer is a family owned and operated RV dealership that has been in business for over 40 years. Their commitment to customer service, attention to detail, support of our industry and reputation for selling quality products made them the obvious choice for us. We could not be more excited.”
The all-new 2011 Tahoe comes standard with a 4.0 Onan generator, three-burner range with oven, deep-double bowl stainless steel galley sink, 83-inch interior height throughout, hardwood drawers with full-extension roller bearing guides, pass-through storage on all models, Ford V-10 engine and 32-inch LCD TV. MSRPs start at $61,544.00
A Harbor City, Calif., manufacturer of all-electric trucks and tractors has signed a $16 million deal to build 300 drive systems for inner-city buses in China, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.
The deal is the latest expansion of Balqon Corp.’s growing global presence in electric vehicles, boats, motorhomes and power storage systems.
Balqon, which began building electric drayage trucks for use in local ports in early 2009, plans to expand its Harbor City assembly plant and hire 150 new workers to meet demand.
“We’re seeing major evolutions and advancements in the electric vehicle industry, with new generations of batteries coming out about every 18 months and each gaining tremendously on the previous generation,” said Balwinder Samra, Balqon president and CEO.
“It’s developing like the personal computer did a few years ago, with rapid advancements in (mileage) range, storage capacity, size and application.”
The new agreement between Balqon and Winston Global Energy, a Chinese lithium-ion battery maker, gives the partnership exclusive contracts to build electric buses, trucks, motorhomes and even marine vessels throughout much of North and South America, Asia and the Middle East.
The drive systems being built at the Harbor City assembly plant cost about $53,000 each and will be exported to China during the next 18 months.
Samra has doubled his work force to more than 60 since mid-January and plans to hire another 100 or so by summer.
He sees rising oil prices, better batteries and rising demand converging around 2015 to make all-electric vehicles economically competitive with traditional diesel, gasoline and hybrid cars and trucks.
“It’s moving forward faster than anyone predicted,” Samra said. “Places like China and India in particular are really pushing research and development into battery and electric technology because they see the drain that oil (price) fluctuations can have on an economy, and they don’t want to have oil prices being a drag on their economies like they’ve seen in America and Europe. It’s smart planning. You can’t run an economy where a single commodity can swing you from growth to recession.”
The new drive systems improve on the line of electric container trucks and yard tractors Balqon began building for the Port of Los Angeles in early 2009 with $500,000 in seed money from the port and South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Since then, about 25 such vehicles have been ordered for use in local ports, with dozens more electric drive systems and motors purchased by public and private firms around the globe.
Using Winston Global’s lithium batteries and Balqon’s drive trains, the two companies tentatively plan to build 1,000 zero-emission buses for use in China within a few years.
Winston Global’s CEO Henry Chung is also working with Balqon to develop electric motorhomes.
The first one, a 45-foot prototype, was completed in September.
Another of Chung’s companies, MVP RV of Riverside, plans to manufacture 30,000 motorhomes using Balqon drive trains in the Inland Empire in coming years and export them to China.
Chung, a rising electric-vehicle tycoon, also recently announced a $10 million donation to the University of California, Riverside Department of Engineering.
“As soon as you get those batteries capable of maintaining a range of around 350 to 400 miles, which I believe will happen in the next 36 months, you’ll see interest explode,” Samra said. “The electric motor has already proven itself in terms of power and propulsion … meeting or exceeding the capability of diesel or gasoline, so the only remaining issue is battery capacity.”
If Samra’s forecasts hold, his 26,000-square-foot plant in Harbor City, nestled in an industrial neighborhood between Long Beach and San Pedro, could become one of California’s largest and only remaining auto assembly plants.
A Toyota truck assembly plant in North Long Beach shuttered most operations a few years ago, and a joint Toyota-General Motors plant known as the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI, was shuttered in 2010.
Tesla Motors, an electric sports car manufacturer, has since taken over the NUMMI site and plans to build an electric-powered sedan there beginning in 2012.
“We believe that combining our lithium battery and fast-charging technology with Balqon’s proprietary electric drive systems will enable us to provide cost-competitive zero-emissions solution to a growing global demand for electric vehicles,” Chung said in an e-mail statement.
Mike Thompson RV Superstores delivered the first MVP RV Inc. Impact toyhauler trailer this week fresh off the assembly line.
MVP RV launched its newest product at Mike Thompson RV in December.
The new owner, identified only as “Mr. Glenn” of Southern California, is the first new owner of the Impact toyhauler trailer and was very excited to take delivery of the unit he purchased in December, according to a news release. He has been anxiously waiting for the toyhauler to arrive.
“I’ve been searching Toyhauler Travel Trailer when I came upon the new Impact displayed at the I5 show. It had everything I was looking for and more,” he said. “I was blown away that the Impact has 40 gallons of fuel on board, the insulated floor are more than I expected and the list goes on and on.”
The Impact launched with two models with four more to follow. The 18SS features a front side bed, side bath, and two facing sofas in the rear creating maximum sleeping capacity. The 22SS includes the same features and in addition two rear electric beds. Both are equipped with a generator, microwave, awning, fuel station, and much more.
The Impact is now available at all Mike Thompson’s RV locations. Mike Thompson RV staff is very excited to see the market growing and introducing new products for their customers.
Mike Thompson RV Superstores has five Southern California locations. For more information visit www.mikethompson.com.
MVP RV Inc. today (Feb. 7) announced that it has reached an agreement with Mike Thompson’s RV Superstores (MTRV).
MTRV will be the exclusive Tahoe Class C dealer for their four southern California locations, located in Fountain Valley, Santa Fe Springs, Colton and Cathedral City, according to a news release.
“We are very excited about this new line,” said Frank DeGelas, MTRV general manager. “We took our time during our due diligence process before making this decision. We visited their facility several times, walked their production line, test drove the product and met with their senior leadership team. In the end, we truly believe this is the best fit for Mike Thompson’s RV. The Tahoe fills a segment of the market we have not been participating in for several years.”
“We are proud to add Mike Thompson’s to our growing MVP RV family,” said Niles Whitehouse, Tahoe’s national sales and product manager. “MTRV is a family owned and operated RV dealership that has been in business for almost 40 years. Their companywide integrity, commitment to customer service and reputation for selling quality products made them the obvious choice for us.”
The all-new 2011Tahoe comes standard with a 4.0 Onan generator, three-burner range with oven, deep double bowl stainless steel galley sink, 83-inch interior height throughout, hard wood drawers with full extension roller bearing guides, pass-through storage on all models, Ford V-10 engine and 32-inch LCD TV. MSRP starting at $61,544.
MVP RV inc. builds travel trailers under the brand names Coast and Summit, fifth-wheels under the brand names Jazz and Destiny, and toy haulers under the brand names Impact, Vortex and Envy. For more information about MVP RV’s products, please go to www.mvprv.com.
Amid all the publicity surrounding MVP RV Inc.’s mammoth deal to build 30,000 motorhomes for a growing market in China comes an alternative viewpoint from none other than Chinese travel experts.
The China People’s Daily reported today (Jan. 25) in its online edition that so far the country has less than 10,000 motorhomes, most of which are used in the entertainment business for mobile dressing rooms, said Shangguan Zhoudong, a Beijing-based independent auto analyst.
“People rarely use RVs as a way to travel long distances in China, because Chinese culture does not nurture a spirit of adventure, as most people value stability,” the auto analyst stated.
The Chinese are more accustomed to driving sedans or SUVs and staying overnight at hotels while traveling, said Cui Dongshu, deputy secretary-general of the National Passenger Car Association.
This report butts heads with a statement distributed today by the Los Angeles Times and attributed to MVP RV benefactor Winston Chung. The Times reported that Chug said the Chinese government has placed a focus on developing the RV industry as a cornerstone of the Chinese ideal of the happy home life.
“A family with an RV is a family more in harmony with each other,” he said, speaking through a translator. “During vacations, people can get into the RV and enjoy quality family time.”
China is hungry for the kind of recreational vehicles built in Southern California — at least according to the Chinese entrepreneur who struck a deal with a Riverside firm to build and export $5 billion worth of them.
The Chinese government has placed a focus on developing the RV industry as a cornerstone of the Chinese ideal of the happy home life, Winston Chung told the Los Angeles Times.
“A family with an RV is a family more in harmony with each other,” he said, speaking through a translator. “During vacations, people can get into the RV and enjoy quality family time.”
Under Chung’s agreement with MVP RV of Riverside, Calif., the company plans to manufacture the vehicles in the U.S. and export them to China. However, Chung would not rule out moving operations to China in the future.
Chung spoke about the burgeoning market in China for the motorhomes after a news conference with UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White, where they announced Chung’s $10-million donation to UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering.
In an interview with The Times, a smiling Chung cheerfully detailed his plans to build and export 30,000 diesel-powered motorhomes to China, and eventually to develop electric-powered RVs. Chung, 52, is the founder of battery maker Winston Global Energy.
The nascent Chinese RV industry has the potential for high profit margins, despite high taxes on gas-guzzling vehicles, Chung said. He added that the increasing value of the yuan, the Chinese currency, will make buying an RV more affordable for families.
Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, Winston Global Energy produces batteries for electric bikes, electric motorcycles, electric automobiles and hybrid vehicles, and is currently the only company in the world engaged in mass production of rechargeable storage batteries for buses.
Last year, Chung became a majority owner in Riverside’s MVP RV Inc. The company hopes to soon begin manufacturing 10,000 tour-bus-style and 20,000 smaller recreational vehicles. They will be exported over the next three to four years. The company said it would hire 1,200 new workers, primarily in production line jobs.
Formed in 2008, MVP RV began producing primarily travel trailers but stopped production four months later when stifled by the recession. The company was exploring the idea of building electric cars when the owners were introduced to Chinese entrepreneur Chung.
He paid $18.6 million in July for the Riverside factories and headquarters that were once the home of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection and left the area in 2009.
For now, the emphasis will be on gas-powered RVs, he said. The Chinese market “is really into gasoline RVs, so that is why we want to focus on that and trying to import it into China,” he said. “If we do move manufacturing to China, I would like it to be for the manufacturing of electric RVs.”
MVP RV has already created a prototype for the electric motorhome and Chung plans to invest more money in the development of the technology in the near future.
Chung’s interest in Southern California began with his initial investment in MVP RV, but he has business dealings in several Southland transportation firms. He hopes to begin developing an electric yacht and plans to invest in several boating companies in Southern California to do so.
Today (Jan. 25), a heavy-duty truck, tractor and electrical systems maker in Los Angeles County that is also owned partly by Chung will announce that he has ordered $15.9 million worth of electric vehicle drive systems made in Southern California for buses in China.
Balqon Corp., based in Harbor City near Long Beach, said it expects to hire 150 workers over the next 18 months to build 300 electric vehicle drive systems to power buses carrying 15 to 40 passengers each. The drive systems are being purchased by Chung’s company in China, Winston Global Energy.
“This order from Winston Global Energy validates the competitiveness of our technology in the global marketplace and will result in the creation of high-tech green jobs domestically,” said Balwinder Samra, Balqon chief executive. Chung is a major shareholder in Balqon, founded in 2005.
The UCR gift would be the largest in the school’s history, officials said. A building within the college of engineering will be renamed Winston Chung Hall and two professorships and a research center will be established in his name. The gift is to fund research related to clean battery power, solar energy and sustainable transportation, according to the university.
The research center, called the Winston Chung Global Energy Center, will focus on “life source rare earth lithium batteries,” a technology invented by Chung, bio-inspired technology and the development of clean energy and energy storage, according to the school.
The gift is “a match of his passion with our ability,” White said. Chung added that this would be his first donation to the school, but he is in talks to continue donations to the school, specifically to medical research.