Boulder Electric Vehicle, which we have discussed before, has closed its doors in both the Los Angeles area and is facility in Lafayette, Colorado. The company built medium-duty electric trucks mostly in a step-in and box-style format for commercial use.
The company was successful in getting some test vehicles into fleets as well as in convincing some small operators to purchase the EVs, but not enough of them to stay in business. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the company’s CEO Carter Brown says that they have not bankrupted the company, though they have laid off most of the nearly 100 employees at both facilities and removed their equipment to storage so they could give up their leases.
“We have essentially mothballed the company. We are not filing bankruptcy. We are servicing our vehicles. We made a bunch of vehicles … and they are in use in many fleets in Los Angeles, Texas, New York and Chicago.”
Boulder’s problem was in convincing fleet managers to take large orders of the trucks. It’s the usual dilemma most EV truck makers face: the fleet manager might be interested in the fuel and maintenance savings, but not so much in the heftier price tag up-front. This is especially true if that high markup cannot be shown to return within three years. With the Boulder Electric’s target markets being low-mileage fleets (less than 100 miles per day), a $20,000 price premium is a hard sell.
The company also suffered from other issues, including marketing and public relations. I have personally attempted to contact the company and its CEO numerous times in the past four years with little success. The one time I did get through and make an appointment to tour their facility in Colorado and perhaps drive one of their trucks, I was greeted by a locked door and no answers to phone calls to find out what was happening after having traveled 100 miles to make the appointment.
In the end, Boulder Electric Vehicle was a good idea with a great product design but at the wrong time and with hazy execution.
This originally appeared on GreenBigTruck.com.