AMP Holdings Aligning as the 'Tesla of Trucks' (Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch) Link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amp-holdings-aligning-as-the-tesla-of-trucks-2013-06-11 Jun 11, 2013 (ACCESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- The electric vehicle, or EV, industry has been building momentum with initiatives in the United States and China to put more of the environmentally friendly cars on the roads to combat pollution and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA -2.21% firmly has the attention of Wall Street after in May reporting its first-ever quarterly profit. Shares of Tesla have basically tripled in 2013 to record highs as more of their cars are being bought and profit margins climb. Elon Musk, chief executive at Tesla, told shareholders this week that the company is increasing production efficiency and hopes to boost its gross margin from 17 percent in the first quarter to 25 percent by the end of the year. China-based EV maker Kandi Technologies Corp. KNDI +1.40% has seen shares soar in the past week after announcing that the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology approved its electric car, meaning their cars will be eligible for subsidies. Shares jumped more than 40 percent with the news with more than 18 million shares trading hands. After years of development and speculation about when electric vehicles would start to move into the mainstream, the industry looks to be approaching a tipping point. While Tesla and Kandi are making strides in their respective industries, AMP Holding Inc.AMPD +0.76% , a manufacturer of electric drive systems for medium-duty class 3-6 commercial truck platforms, is emerging as potentially a dominant force in the commercial vehicle industry. Their all-electric drive systems are powered by China Aviation Lithium Batteries, incidentally, the same batteries used by Kandi. In March, AMP closed the acquisition of the Workhorse brand, logo, IP, patents and assembly plant from Workhorse Custom Chassis, LLC, a unit of Navistar International Corp. NAV -5.60% . The opportunity is substantial to penetrate the medium duty commercial vehicle market, with about 300,000 step vans on the roads today with thousands of new ones purchased each year. Generally, those vans are kept in service for ten to twenty years, and the fuel savings alone can provide rapid payback in as short as three years to offset additional costs associated with purchasing an electric vehicle. So-called "range anxiety" is mitigated as delivery drivers typically run specific routes that are within the parameters of the run capacity of the batteries before returning back to base each day for re-charging. Impressively, AMP's proprietary all-electric system utilizes dual motors to produce 250 kilowatts that actually accelerates the 19,500 gross vehicle weight van faster than the original diesel engine. AMP plans to use its new 30,000-chassis-per-year capacity of the plant to produce its all-electric Workhorse chassis as well as models for gasoline and alternative fuel powered vehicles and sell them through the existing Workhorse distribution of 440 dealers. Recently, AMP's all-electric medium duty step van successfully completed durability testing at Transportation Research Center, an independent testing facility in Ohio. The testing simulated the rigors of wear-and-tear on a delivery van, including running for 4,000 miles during the Ohio winter. In March, AMP chief executive Steve Burns said that the company believes it is close to landing its first major contract. That's certainly food for thought and investors should be alert for any additional commentary by the company as that's a strong statement from a generally low-key management team. There are articles on the Internet postulating that Kandi could be the next Tesla. Perhaps they could as they make headway in the enormous Chinese market. Is AMP emerging as the next Kandi or Tesla? No, not in the traditional sense as they are in different sectors of the EV industry. But, the "Tesla of Trucks?" Now that may be a real possibility.