HAZELWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – No longer just a computer-generated artist’s rendering, the t-001 low emissions van that will be produced in Hazelwood by Emerald Automotive is now a reality.
Emerald Monday released the first photographs of its demonstrator vehicles, currently being put through their paces at the world-renowned Millbrook Proving Ground in the United Kingdom.
“I am delighted to see the vehicles in action,” said Emerald Automotive CEO Andy Tempest. “Full credit must be given to our engineering team and technical partners who have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to meet all our demanding cost, design and milestone targets. This is a considerable achievement, given that the t-001 is an all-new vehicle designed from the ground up.”
The developments overseas are being watched closely by Emerald’s team headquartered in Hazelwood,which is working to find a spot for the t-001 factory and hire the workers who will actually put the vans together.
Gary Marble, Director of Sales and Corporate Marketing, is impressed with the finished product.
“Man, you go back and look at what we had as a computer model even six months ago, and this thing is almost exactly what it looked like as a computer-generated picture,” Marble pointed out. “They have just done an amazing job.”
Building one after another will be an exacting job that requires well-trained personnel that Marble says they’re still early in the process of hiring right now.
“We’re probably looking at a little bit of time yet before we’re able to physically hire most of them because we’re just not to the point yet of having the plant in a position of bringing them in, having a place for them to work,” Marble said.
But things are on track locally, he added, to have between 550 and 600 workers ready to go when the plant opens sometime in 2014.
It has not escaped Emerald execs that gasoline prices have been on a steady upward trend with some experts saying that fuel could be back at 2008 levels of $4-plus a gallon in the very near future.
“We feel we have an answer for that,” said Marble. “We’re talking about a vehicle that you can plug in and get 60-plus miles per gallon, or if you don’t plug it in it’s still going to get 50 to 60 miles per gallon using the range-extender four-cylinder motor.”
The t-001 was specifically designed for global fleet customers and is expected to reduce lifetime costs for owners while cutting emissions by up to 80%.
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