JB Poindexter: The inevitable electric vehicle fleets – in due course

Question: Did Amazon’s order for 100,000 Rivian vans validate the electric powertrain for commercial fleet vehicles? Did that spark this trend of abandoning internal combustion engines in fleets?

A: I don’t think it triggered anything. It was part of a natural progression. But this progression may not evolve as quickly as the public thinks. There are many obstacles to the electrification of means of locomotion, but the movement is inevitable and determined. The only question now is the pace. The Rivian order was certainly an important factor in the formation of EAVX, our initiative to establish the leading position for the classes of delivery and transport vehicles that we are active in the market, from Class 3 to Class 7.

There seems to be a lot of hype surrounding the electrification of fleet vehicles.

It’s really easy to place an order, get PR, get public recognition, get the applause and worry about the consequences later. We see the switch to electric as inevitable, promising and exciting, but we also view with some caution the pace of small series of prototypes driving large-delivered vehicles.

How will electric fleet vehicles disrupt your established manufacturing system?

Across our company, we have nearly 60 manufacturing facilities. Almost every one of them will require modification for the age of electric vehicles and for alternative fuel vehicles.

You’ve built your business by buying and integrating other businesses. Have you ever planned for JB Poindexter & Co. to buy an electric vehicle manufacturer?

No. Our position on the market is as follows: we are bodybuilders and bodybuilders. We are not manufacturers of chassis and means of locomotion. This is a separate and entirely separate enterprise, where the faster pace of technological change is going to be concentrated.

As the interior design industry adapts to the age of electric vehicles, what will JB Poindexter’s role be?

We want to be the permanent supplier of low-margin, high-volume mid-size bodies and delivery vehicles. We believe that our duty and our economic advantage is to serve our customers to help them choose the optimal chassis for their needs. We are happy with lower margins.

Do you plan to transition to electric vehicle fleet vehicles aimed at consumers? For example, if Ford, General Motors, and Rivian make their electric chassis available to renovators, would your company’s business units be interested in producing bodies for them?

Absoutely. We have two ways of doing this. One is through Reading, which provides service and utility organizations. Second, Reading has a separate division which equips a variety of work trucks.

Will electric fleet vehicles outlast their ICE counterparts?

The bodies we manufacture for our delivery customers, such as vans, last thanks to multiple engines. The body is resistant. We are ready for an increase in the service life of the chassis as well as the body.

Is the internal combustion engine dead?

I am a huge fan of the internal combustion engine. I think it has a long future for many applications as electric vehicles and other forms of locomotion find their way over time.

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