ALTe, PG&E to Partner on Powertrain Development Project
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significant,” Thomas said.
Thomas explained that retrofitting a PG&E vehicle and then handing the keys over to the company for what is essentially an extended test drive is a vital first step in fleet-industry sales. With each retrofit costing thousands of dollars per vehicle, there isn’t a lot of room for inefficiency or poor quality.
PG&E isn’t the only one paying attention to ALTe’s increasing prominence in the electric vehicle sector. Thomas was recently named one of the Automotive News’ Electrifying 100, a first-time list of the most influential people leading the automotive industry toward an electric-powered future.
“It was really humbling to be part of a group of some of the biggest leaders in the EV world, especially since we’re a pre-revenue startup,” Thomas said.
Pre-revenue startup or not, Thomas says the electric-fleet industry in general—and ALTe in particular—are thriving.
While electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf have been somewhat slow to catch on with consumers, Thomas noted that fleet companies like ALTe are held up to a different set of metrics for success. Passenger-vehicle purchasing, he explained, is often compared to fashion. People see their cars as an extension of themselves—the classic “you are what you drive” ethos.
“In the fleet industry, it’s purely about dollars and cents,” he said. “With fleet, we’re almost saying, ‘What recession?’ We’re feeling overwhelmingly positive about the future.”