The U.S. Market
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are over 100 million light-to-medium duty trucks on the road in the U.S. today. Many of these vehicles are used in commercial or government fleets. Initially, Echo intends to focus on selling EchoDrive into the existing fleet market. Echo is initially focused on the top 1,000 commercial fleets, which represent significant potential opportunity for EchoDrive.
Short ROI Drives International Adoption
Echo believes that the opportunity internationally for a rapid ROI can be significant due to the higher fuel prices relative to the United States. Management believes the potential return on investment picture in such markets could be compelling. International territory licensing will be key to servicing these markets to execute an international strategy.
Existing Conversion Options
Many companies today rely on commercial fleets to conduct business and with the ever-increasing energy costs, the demand for advance vehicle technology solutions has never been higher. With that demand, there are new companies bringing technologies to market; however, most are focused on achieving very high efficiency ratings, which creates a very capital-intensive enterprise resulting in an expensive end-product for the customer. In most cases these technologies require the removal of most of the original powertrain, which is replaced with technologies that often have not been time-tested, therefore adding inherent risk to fleet operations. Additionally many competitors rely on government subsidies to support their financial equations, leaving them at the mercy of often varying political mandates.
Retrofit providers require a complete transformation of the original drivetrain including removal of the engine and transmission and replacing it with a completely new powertrain. Some conversion companies also remove the original components in favor of an all-new system. Some companies, which converts existing vehicles to full electric, offers conversions for very select models and again removes the entire drivetrain for purposes of adapting new technology in order to provide efficiency.