Phoenix Motorcars: Charging Towards Tomorrow
Phoenix Motorcars has brought the future of auto motors closer - and it's electricity-powered!
Although ‘future' may be a tad inappropriate to use, and you may be shocked to hear, but back in the 1800s, electricity was one of the preferred methods for motor vehicle propulsion.
However, it appears retro is truly in again, and the trend has reached our means of transport. With technological developments and new environmental concerns, there has been a new surge of interest in electric vehicles, also known as EVs.
Daniel J. Elliot was an 18-year veteran of sustainable energy by the time he started Phoenix Motorcars. The company focuses on the production of light and medium-duty zero-emission EVs for fleet and transit markets.
Phoenix Motorcars has had quite the journey, and it’s been a long time in the making. We’re about to see how it all came to be, from the very first spark.
Ignite the Engine
Daniel Elliott holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Management putting him well on his path into the alternative fuel industry. But, since not much info is available about Daniel’s early childhood years and education, one can only imagine how driven and dedicated young Daniel has been, growing into the successful businessman he is today.
His career in sustainable energy took off back in the early 90s and his interest in electric vehicles led him to work on a number of different designs.
In fact, Daniel’s had a hand in the development of several projects, like the Electric Ranger and the Ecostar with Ford motor company, the Think! City project with Rausch industries, as well as the Honda Civic hybrid.
Enthusiastic Daniel had worked extensively in the EV field and filled up many different roles, including management, engineering, and sales. By the time he added entrepreneurship to his fields of expertise, Daniel had made his way around the block - and around the world.
He finally settled in Ontario, California where he laid the foundation for Phoenix Motorcars. All the skills he built in the decade preceding this would go on to help him become the CEO of the company in the following years.
Phoenix Motorcars was founded in 2002 and its starting years were dedicated to gathering a capable team and going through a research and development phase. It’d be a while before the company was ready to commercialize.
However, that time would come eventually.
The capable team behind Phoenix Motorcars finally worked out all the particularities and developed both a platform and a technology everyone involved was satisfied with.
The company’s always aimed to not only meet but exceed customers’ expectations, and improve the planet, at the same time.
The company’s electric vehicles are clearly made to showcase this, having an impressive design, advanced features, and smooth performance, all while boasting zero emissions. Now isn’t that something to praise, wholeheartedly so?
More and more people are jumping on the electric, zero-emission hype train and companies like Phoenix Motorcars make it easier to do so.
Daniel’s company is quickly proving EVs aren’t only a viable alternative, but a superior one, as well.
The fact that electricity-powered vehicles cause less pollution is a common selling point, and an honest one, as well. Besides that being true and being EVs’ major appeal, electricity-powered vehicles also come with other advantages over their combustion-powered counterparts, as well.
Electric vehicles are more energy-efficient and reliable since they have fewer moving parts and require no fluids. This reliability means less maintenance for EVs, which also makes them, overall, cost less to own, operate and maintain than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.
Phoenix Motorcars specializes in light and medium-duty EVs, in other words, it focuses on class 3 and 4 vehicles. The company also sells EV chargers for both commercial and residential markets.
Its goal, as a pioneer in the industry, has always been to revolutionalize and make a difference in people’s professional and personal lives, transport-wise.
In February of 2007, Daniel was invited to meet with then President of the USA, George W. Bush to discuss alternative fuel and its future role in improving environmental and energy performance. Daniel specifically offered his experience with lithium battery technology and had the opportunity to showcase several alternative fuel vehicles.
The following year, Phoenix Motorcars underwent a lot of big changes, however, it continues to accelerate its business.
Going Full Throttle
In 2008, Phoenix Motorcars completed a financing round and went under restructuring. The investors, Al Yousuf LLC and AES Corporation introduced a new board of directors, and Daniel Elliott, who served as CEO until that point, left the company.
While at Phoenix Motorcars, Daniel garnered over $35 million in private equity investments, curated a talented and devoted team, and developed 10 prototype vehicles. When he left the company, he did so with a $40 million backlog of orders.
Afterward, Daniel kept with his usual line of work. Ever since the start of his career, he believed making the shift to alternative fuel was crucial to protecting America’s economy and ecosystem. Thus, in 2010, he joined the Board of Directors at the Green Automotive Company.
Meanwhile that same year, Phoenix Motorcars became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Al Yousuf LLC. This meant yet another restructuring for the company in less than 2 years.
In 2009 Phoenix released its first EV drivetrain and 5 years later, it sold its first commercial EV shuttle bus.
In the years to follow, Phoenix would supply vehicles to different airports, hotel chains, seaports, universities, and others. These came in many configurations including shuttle buses, walk-in vans, school buses, and utility, service, cargo, or flatbed trucks.
In 2020, SPI Energy acquired Phoenix Motorcars through one of its subsidiaries - EdisonFuture. This brought yet another wave of changes and exciting new ventures for the EV manufacturer.
Following the acquisition, SPI Energy appointed Joe Mitchell, who had decades of experience in the automotive industry and EV market under his belt, as Phoenix Motorcars’ new CEO. The company’s headquarters was then moved from Ontario to Anaheim, California.
While the team at Phoenix remains tight, with less than 50 current employees, the new owners are already preparing for expansion and growth.
In 2021, following some impressive stock debuts, electric vehicles seem to have emerged as one of the hottest IPO markets.
SPI Energy’s Board of Directors felt it was the right time to go public, as did many of their competitors. GreenPower Motor Company, Lightning eMotors, and most recently, Rivian, have all already made their stock market debut.
So,a decision was made to spin off Phoenix Motorcars through an initial public offering. The company filed for an IPO confidentially in August and publicized the registration in November, but has yet to announce a debut date or stock pricing.
The company plans to be listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker "PEV" and SPI Energy intends to raise $150 million with the IPO, although this number may be subject to change.
At the point of its initial public offering, Phoenix Motorcars will have had over 18 years of experience in its field of alternative fuel. The company is, undoubtedly, the leading manufacturer of all-electric medium-duty vehicles.
Unfortunately, Phoenix Motorcars has also disclosed problems with its supply chain, and it has not been the first auto manufacturer to do so. However, it continues to push forward with development.
As of October of 2021, the company has managed to deliver a total of 98 EVs, mostly shuttle buses, and some trucks. Now, Phoenix Motorcars is in the process of developing its 3rd generation drivetrain.
The team behind Phoenix Motorcars believes fleet markets offer a massive opportunity for EVs and the company has already proven capable of prospering in these fields.
A successful IPO would provide the necessary resources to fully capitalize on these markets and other upcoming opportunities.
Zapping to the Future
Phoenix Motorcars was among the first to enter the EV scene in the United States’ automotive industry. It’s had a somewhat tumultuous journey, however, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of EdisonFuture, and consequently SPI Energy, it seems to have its footing back.
With a new seat in Anaheim and an IPO coming up there are exciting new things on the horizon.
Phoenix Motorcars made Fast Company’s 2021 annual list of World Changing Ideas, with its EZ ZEUS autonomous shuttle bus recognized as a finalist in the AI & Data category.
The EZ ZEUS integrates EasyMile’s driverless technology to become the first self-driving EV shuttle deployed in real-life traffic.
With the support of EdisonFuture and SPI Energy, Phoenix plans on introducing class 5 and 6 vehicles and ultimately even developing its own truck chassis.
The company has a backlog of orders and many job prospects and the management team has been significantly strengthened in preparation for Phoenix’s upcoming growth.
The new owners of Phoenix Motorcars clearly believe in its future success. Considering the enormous growth opportunities and the quick pace it's going, the next time you’re catching a flight you just might be taking a Phoenix shuttle to the airport.