Girard Tankless Water Heater Market Share Gains Continue

In an earlier report I indicated that San Clemente, California-based Girard Products, a leader in RV tankless water heater technology, continued to increase its market share.

Girard_endless_hot_water-copyThe Girard Products GSWH-1 Tankless Water Heater was introduced to the RV aftermarket in early 2011 and less than one year later had achieved more than 20 percent share of that market.

Now, one and one-half years later, Girard Products reports that their 2nd Generation Tankless Water Heater, the GSWH-1M, continues to make significant market gains, both with OEMs and in the aftermarket.

More than 30 brands of major RVs are now offering the GSWH-1M on their 2013 and 2014 models either as an option or as standard equipment, according to a company news release.

In the first quarter 2013, the aftermarket sales of the GSWH-1M have exceeded the aftermarket sales of the entire previous year.

Girard GSWH-1M Tankless Water Heater
Girard GSWH-1M Tankless Water Heater

The GSWH-1M is now on target to capture more than a 20 percent share of all water heaters sold in the aftermarket, according to Jerry Rennert, general manager, Girard Products.

“OEM and aftermarket customers have come to recognize and appreciate the GSWH-1M for its innovative, patented design, which offers endless hot water in an efficient, compact, and lightweight package, and it continues to be the only tankless water heater which includes ‘freeze-protection’ as a standard feature,” said Rennert.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

  1. A hot water tap is turned on
  2. Cold water enters the heater
  3. A water flow sensor detects that water is flowing
  4. The microprocessor based circuit board automatically ignites the burner
  5. Water circulates through the heat exchanger
  6. The water is heated to the set temperature
  7. When the tap is turned off, the unit shuts down

It’s the Flow that Makes it Go!

Girard_induced_draft_diagram1The GSWH-1M Tankless Water Heater Operation is literally based on the flow of water and the setting of the GMC Dial.

That is to say, that the temperature of the hot water coming out of the hot water faucet is determined by the hot water flow; the faster the flow, the cooler the water; the slower the flow, the hotter the water.

By adjusting the flow and/or adjusting the GMC Dial, RVers can have endless hot water!

The Girard Tankless RV Water Heater features include:

  • Instant/Endless Hot Water—an unlimited supply of hot water when you need it
  • No Recovery Time—there is no tank to run out of hot water so you can shower all day if you want
  • Energy Efficient—uses 60 percent less LP Gas than Storage Tank Model Water Heaters
  • Temperature Rise—20° to 70° depending on the GMC Dial setting and the water flow
  • Induced Draft—Improves combustion, and efficiency; not affected by high elevations
  • Adjustable BTU Burner—for improved efficiency, you can adjust the burner from a Hi-Flame (36,000 BTUs) all the way to a Low Flame (18,000 BTUs) depending on the incoming water temperature
  • Lightweight—over 65 percent lighter (50–100 pounds less) than conventional tank model water heaters
  • State of the Art Electronic Ignition—no pilot lights or manual burners to keep lighting or adjusting
  • Compact—fits into any existing water heater cut-out opening (overall dimensions are 12.5 iches X 12.5 inches X 15.5 inches
  • No Anode—no tank means you never have to worry about corrosion eating away at the tank.
  • No By-Pass Valve Needed—no storage tank to by-pass when winterizing the unit
  • CSA Approved
  • Two-Year Warranty

The Girard GSWH-1M Tankless Water Heater is being offered on a number of new RVs from manufacturers including Forest River, Jayco, Lance, Monaco, Outdoor RV, and Winnebago.

Details

Girard Products, LLC

girard_tankless_rv_water_heater copyGirard Products LLC is committed to the careful evaluation of technology that can be manufactured into products that make a difference in the environment.

Formed in 1996, Girard Systems is known for innovation related to high quality awnings that are installed on motorhomes, ambulances, fire trucks, and command centers.

Address: 1361 Calle Avanzado, San Clemente, CA 92673

Phone: (866) 559-1221

Website: greenrvproducts.com

Worth Pondering…

RVing and imagination—both take you anywhere you want to be.

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CURT Improves Receiver Hitch Finish with A-Coat Technology

Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based CURT Manufacturing announces that it has improved its receiver hitch finish at its U.S. manufacturing facility by becoming the first company in the market to use Aquence technology (A-coat).

CURTA-coat is a revolutionary finish and an award-winning green technology.

CURT has always used a high-quality powder coat finish that is applied after sending welded hitches through multiple stages, including a shot blast, wash, and preparation system, according to a company news release.

This process results in such a clean surface that CURT can apply an attractive, high-gloss black powder coat.

Now, each hitch is also dipped in a liquid A-coat before it receives CURT’s powder coat finish. The two coatings then co-cure together in the finishing oven, providing the most rust and chip resistant hitch available.

CURT hitches now contain an opening in the frame allowing the A-coat to cover the hitch from the inside out, further protecting the product from rust and corrosion.

The addition of A-coat finishing does not only improve product quality. A-coat is an award-winning green technology. It won the 2010 Automotive News Pace Award for its environmental benefits as the technology reduces a company’s production footprint by up to 40 percent versus the more common E-coat process that many manufacturers use. This substantially reduces energy usage.

Additionally, independent salt spray tests show that A-coat is more rust and chip resistant than E-coat, making CURT’s addition of the A-coat process a win-win decision, the news release states.

Details

CURT Manufacturing

CURT is a leading manufacturer and marketer of top quality towing products.

The company offers American made, custom fit receiver hitches and wiring harnesses for nearly any vehicle on the road.

They also market a broad range of trailer hitches, towing systems, and related accessories.

CURT is ‘The First Name in Towing Products’ for automobile and truck hitches, as well as RV, gooseneck, and commercial towing systems.

Products are marketed through retailers, distributors, installers, and e-tailers across the U.S. and Canada.

CURT receiver hitch
CURT receiver hitch

CURT employs hundreds of associates, primarily at their manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters which is located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

CURT operates 10 regional warehouses, each carrying over 2,500 items and has been twice named a Wisconsin ‘Manufacturer of the Year’.

Address: 6208 Industrial Drive, Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: (877) CURTMFG (287-8634)

Website: curtmfg.com

Worth Pondering…

One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes

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New Waste Management System has RV Application

ThermalTreat Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) System is an innovative “Green” sewage elimination technology that uses heat from the engine exhaust of a vehicle.

ThermalTreat Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) Sewage Elimination System
ThermalTreat Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) Sewage Elimination System

Invented by Namon Nassef, president of Nassef Engineering and Equipment Company, ZLD is a new way to dispose of sewage from RVs and remote locations.

The ZLD Sewage Elimination System uses a small five gallon tank, grinds up the solids, and then dissolves them in the liquid, according to a news release. It then pressurizes this liquid and injects it into the hot exhaust gas of the engine.

Steam and negligible minerals which come from the food people eat leave with the hot exhaust gas. The system is small, lightweight, uses no chemicals, and produces no odors, liquid, or solids to handle.

“We believe that there is a growing desire for environmentally friendly energy recovery methods to handle sewage,” said Nassef.

“It is our belief that when this technology is offered and demonstrated, the demand for it will be overwhelming since it is more efficient, cost effective, and green. The current markets are huge—valued at several hundred million dollars per year—and the international market is immeasurable.”

The ZLD processing unit without the EQ tank is approximately 12-by-18-by-24 inches—the size of a medium suitcase—and weighs less than 100 pounds.

But, it can process approximately 300 gallons per day depending upon available heat simply using engine exhaust to treat and dispose of sewage with no liquid discharge.

Working Prototype in Inventor's GMC
Working Prototype in Inventor’s GMC

Nassef predicts it will eliminate the need for large holding tanks in RVs, thus giving designers more storage space for other needs, such as fresh water or cargo space. It also eliminates the problem of dumping sewage holding tanks when there is no convenient place to dump, he noted.

The system eliminates human waste without leaving odor, sludge, or particles that harm the environment.

“They thought I was a little weird in college,” said Nassef, 63, whose invention is showcased in the June 2011 edition of Popular Science.

“Because I was always going around trying to collect samples from people going into the bathroom.”

Nassef conceived the ZLD system while earning his master’s degree in environmental engineering at the University of Oklahoma in the early 1970s.

Then, the apparatus was the size of a desk. Now, due in large part to the advance of technology, particularly microprocessors, the ZLD weighs less than 100 pounds. It initially breaks down solid waste into minute particles. Then, the system uses an engine’s heat to oxidize and evaporate the waste.

Nassef believes his invention eventually will be a staple anywhere where getting rid of large amounts of stored waste is a problem — on buses, recreational vehicles, boats, and airplanes. It already has received approval for future marine use by the Coast Guard.

Advantages of the ThermalTreat Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) System include:

  • No odors
  • No liquid discharge
  • Energy recovery
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Small/lightweight
  • Operable worldwide
  • Operable in all climates and harsh environments
  • Quick start/stop or storage/use cycles
  • Plug-and-play design for replacement or repair
  • Potential water reuse
  • No chemicals required
  • No sludge to dispose

Details

Nassef Engineering and Equipment Company

What if we could eliminate sewage? The ZLD virtually does just that! It takes the sewage (solids and liquids), grinds them up and homogenizes the solids in the liquid.

The ZLD then takes that liquid (that looks like chocolate milk) and pressurizes it and sprays this liquid into the hot exhaust gas of the engine.  The hot engine gas vaporizes the liquid, and kills the bacteria and basically eliminates the sewage with no odor no liquid or no sludge to handle.

Address: 301 W. Nine Mile Road, Suite 4, Pensacola, FL 32534-1819

Phone: (850) 484-2700

Website: thezld.com

Worth Pondering…

Nothing endures but change.
—Heraclitus, Lives of the Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius

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Ford’s RV Training Center to Evaluate Refrigerators

Ford’s RV Training Center, also the headquarters of the RV Referral Network (RVRN), has invited all RV refrigerator manufacturers to participate in an independent, side-by-side RV refrigerator evaluation.

Atwood Mobile Products LLC and Dometic Corp. will participate in the evaluation and have donated the required refrigerators and cooling units, according to a news release.

“This adventure has been inspired by the many questions RV owners have daily asked all of the members of the RVRN. Therefore, they will be evaluating these refrigerators with RV owners in mind,” said Roger Ford, co-owner with his wife Onna Lee of Ford’s RV Training Center, where the multiple stages of testing are being performed.

Ford said he anticipates the evaluation will have a positive impact for RV owners and the RV industry.

The Fords have 34 years of experience in the field. They have also scheduled the release of a 2012 edition of their third book about RV refrigerators that will be sent complimentary to more than 23,943 RV parks, campgrounds, clubs, dealers, repair centers, and manufacturers throughout the United States and Canada.

RVRN membership is for those who receive a Certification Certificate from Ford RV Training Center.

The goal of each RVRN member is to provide to the consumer:

  • The best price
  • Quality service
  • A dependable product
  • The Industries best warranty
Roger and Onna Lee Ford stand next to their service trailer.

Remember, it’s all about education—it’s easy when you know how.

Details

Ford’s RV Service & RV Appliance Training Center

Ford RV Refrigeration began operation in 1984.

Along with the extensive RV service they provide, they also offer global certified training in the field of RV refrigerator cooling unit reconditioning.

In 1994, they wrote and published The Ford Procedures, the first and only step-by-step technical manual on RV refrigerator repair and reconditioning; it’s used in conjunction with the training they offer.

In May 2006, they increased their training to include certification.

There are over a million RV refrigerators in landfills today, and what people don’t know is that over 90 percent of these could have been repaired.

Over the years, their customers have voiced the need for a manual that would enable them to do minor repairs themselves, or at the very least, give them enough education to know whether or not a service tech had been properly educated.

So in 2009, they published the 241-page book, Average Joe’s RV Refrigerator Troubleshooting & Repair Guide. This first of its kind manual, also supports the “Going Green” movement.

The manual contains step-by-step instructions, pictures, charts, myths, and remedies, and much more and covers Dometic, Norcold, Frigking, Morhpy, Richards, Hadco, Coldstar, and many more.

It’s available in paperback or hardback.

From 2003 to 2009, editors from many RV technical magazines engaged the Fords to write articles for their magazines and websites.

The Fords operate their small company in a town with less than 5,000 people, and yet they have been told they are a major Icon in the RV Industry because of their innovative, unique, and unprecedented procedures and ideas they have implemented.

They can fix original cooling units for less than half of the cost for replacement and they are the only ones in this industry to give a 100 percent warranty that is transferable, and the only ones to offer extended warranties for as many years as desired.

Address: 1746 Big Bear Hwy., Benton, KY 42025

Website: (270) 354-9239

Website: rvrefrigeration.com

Worth Pondering…

Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.

—Earl Gary Stevens

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VP RV Assets Sold to Real Estate Investment Firm

The last vestiges of MVP RV were sold Thursday (April 19) to a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm for an undisclosed amount.

Hackman Capital—which buys land and buildings and then sells or leases them—was among a handful of bidders, none with RV manufacturing intentions, to attend the private auction organized by Credit Management Association (CMA) at the recreational vehicle maker’s former headquarters near Riverside at 5300 Via Ricardo, reports Press Enterprise.

Hackman bought everything including two buildings with 460,570 square feet of space combined on 37 acres, property that had been owned by Fleetwood Enterprises before MVP RV bought it.

The rest of what Hackman bought—the equipment, vehicles, fixtures, and furniture inside—will be auctioned again on April 26 by the same auctioneer, said Michael Joncich, manager of the CMA’s adjustment bureau.

MVP RV shut down in mid-December amid a legal dispute that pit one foreign investor—Chinese businessman Winston Chung—against a group of others dubbed Fadar International which owns a majority of the private company’s shares.

Fadar International’s investors were owed about $22 million when they shut the company down and transferred its assets to CMA to liquidate in the auction.

Joncich said the winning bid was “substantially less,” than $22 million. Overall, the company owed creditors some $37 million.

Vicente Alfaro, right, and other workers at MVP RV in Riverside, work on trailers in this file photo. (Source: pe.com)

Fadar accepted Hackman’s bid and the deal is expected to close escrow in 45 days, Press Enterprise reports.

Chung, who at one time had been the company’s chairman and gained stature in the Inland region after donating millions of dollars to UC Riverside, made a failed attempt to bid at the last minute.

Shortly before the 11:30 a.m. auction start, a lawyer representing Chung reached out to CMA, Joncich said. Chung, along with other investors, would have had to make a sizeable deposit and sign documents in order to qualify as a bidder and they didn’t.

Chung’s attempt surprised Brad Williams, MVP RV’s former CEO.

“I was not aware of any attempt on his part, as of late, to do anything,” Williams said, adding that Chung had made a serious attempt last year to purchase the entire company from Fadar, but failed.

Williams said he hasn’t spoken with Chung in about two months.

“There are no hard feelings with anyone except we feel badly for the people who worked for MVP,” he said, adding that he believes Chung had the best of intentions when he invested in MVP RV and pledged $310 million more so the company could build RVs to export to China. That never occurred.

Jaime Martinez, left, and Horasio Hermosillo apply glue that will bond a rubber roof to a trailer at MVP RV. (Source: pe.com)

“Winston’s a very optimistic individual,” Williams said. “And I don’t think he sold us a bill of goods.”

Williams has no immediate plans to revive the RV company or work for anyone else and said he would feel guilty to find work if the MVP RV’s former employees were still looking.

“I almost feel like the captain of the ship making sure everyone’s off before I get off,” he said.

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Worth Pondering…
To re-create yourself anew in every moment in the grandest version of the greatest vision ever you had about Who You Really Are. That is the purpose in becoming human, and that is the purpose of all of life.

— Neale Donald Walsch, in Conversations with God

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Electric Powertrain Maker Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Azure Dynamics, a maker of electric powertrains and other parts for commercial vehicles, has filed for bankruptcy protection, the latest sign of turmoil in the electric-vehicle industry.

Electric Powered Transit Connect

Along with providing power for the electric version of the Ford Transit Connect, Azure Dynamics builds electric powertrains and battery systems for delivery vans, plug-in hybrid trucks, hybrid buses, and similar vehicles.

Having failed to raise sufficient funds through a company stock offering, the electric drivetrain manufacturer laid off 120 employees, 55 of whom were employed at its Oak Park, Michigan facility, reports Detroit Free Press.

The company, which had been doing much of its work in Oak Park, laid off 120 employees on Monday (April 9), including 55 in Oak Park.

It also stopped production and shut its Oak Park headquarters and other offices, except for a location just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, where the company is now based.

Mike Elwood, Azure’s vice president of marketing, said the company is restructuring its operations after failing to win approval from the Ontario Securities Commission for its plan to sell more stock.

Out of juice? Ford Transit Connect electric drivetrain supplier files for bankruptcy.

He said Azure, which is now operating with about 35 to 40 workers, intends to continue supporting vehicles that use the company’s parts.

“We fully intend to be back and moving forward, but we have to reorganize,” Elwood told the Detroit Free Press.

“We still believe that electric vehicles are a part of the solution going forward.”

Elwood blamed Azure’s financial problems on poor electric vehicle sales, tight capital markets, and the European financial crisis.

Azure, which was founded in Canada in the late 1990s, manufactured electric powertrains for the Ford Transit Connect Electric, an electric cargo van, and hybrid electric bus, and van delivery platforms, among other products.

The company lost $26.1 million in the first nine months of 2011, up from a net loss of $17.7 million during the same period in 2010.

Financial results have not yet been released for the fourth quarter of 2011.

As of March 1, Azure’s biggest shareholders were Shell Asset Management, Black Rock Investment Management, RBC Asset Management, and Johnson Controls’ Canadian subsidiary.

In early February, Azure Dynamics reported that it had taken orders for another 45 electric Transit Connects—20 in Europe and 25 in North America. The company has taken a claimed $32 million in orders for the electric Transit Connect.

This isn’t the first shakeup involving the Transit Connect and its conversion company.

Azure Dynamics, a maker of electric powertrains and other parts for commercial vehicles, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Ford originally partnered with English EV firm Smith Electric in 2009 to transform the Transit Connect into an electric van, but by the end of the year, both parties mutually dissolved the contract, reports Truck Trend.

Smith claimed it instead wanted to focus its capital and resources on its own vehicle development programs.

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Worth Pondering…
As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

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MVP RV Assets to Be Auctioned April 19

Earlier this month I reported that Riverside, California-based MVP RV had shut down and would be sold off amid a legal dispute pitting one foreign investor against others.

The dispute involved a group known as Fadar International and Chinese businessman Winston Chung over the company’s ownership.

Fadar has accused Chung in a lawsuit of crafting a fraudulent document claiming full ownership of the RV maker, one of a few manufacturing companies he has invested in Southern California.

Chung, who had been credited for saving the company from closure in 2009, was named chairman of the board of the company and later pledged a $310 million investment in the company to produce $5 billion worth of recreational vehicles to sell in China, including all-electric models, a plan that earned the company a trip to Washington, D.C.

The company owes creditors $37 million, including Fadar’s investors.

While the company’s ownership is unclear, Fadar managed to shut down the company on December 12 and assigned all of its assets to Credit Management Association (CMA), a private, non-profit, liquidation firm.

Jaime Martinez, left, and Horasio Hermosillo apply glue that will bond a rubber roof to a trailer at MVP RV. (Source: pe.com)

MVP RV has not filed for bankruptcy.

The company laid off its entire workforce of about 200 people when it closed.

MVP RV’s assets and real estate holdings will be auctioned April 19 starting at 11:30 a.m.

A notice advertising the auction has been posted on the website of Credit Management Association, which was given control of the company’s assets in mid-December.

Up for sale are two industrial buildings, a total of 460,570 square feet of space that sit on 1.6 million square feet of property within the boundary of Jurupa Valley, adjacent to Riverside.

The land and buildings are worth $20 million, according to the auction notice.

The buildings and property had once belonged to longtime RV-maker Fleetwood Enterprises before it filed for bankruptcy three years ago.

MVP RV bought it for $18.6 million in July 2010.

Other items included in the auction include factory equipment, inventory, office space, and rights to MVP RV’s intellectual property, according to Credit Management’s notice.

Interested buyers with cash would make their bids on site at the company’s headquarters at 5300 Via Ricardo in Jurupa Valley.

Vicente Alfaro, right, and other workers at MVP RV in Riverside, work on trailers in this file photo. (Source: pe.com)

Bidders can get a preview of the auction items in person during the two days prior to the sale.

Click here to read more about MVP RV.

Details

MVP RV’s assets and real estate holdings are set to be auctioned.

Valued at $20 million, the holdings include two industrial steel buildings totaling 460,570 square feet on 34 acres of property zoned M-1.

When: April 19 starting at 11:30 a.m.

Previews: April 17 and 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where: 5300 Via Ricardo, Riverside, California

What: Two buildings, factory equipment, intellectual property

Additional information: cmaauctions.com

Worth Pondering…
You don’t pay the price for success. You pay the price for failure.

—Zig Ziglar

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Elkhart’s EV Dream Dies as RVs Surge Anew

Elkhart, Indiana, is known as the RV capital of the world.

Newmar factory tour, Nappanee, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The city suffered badly when the recession hit, and demand for recreational vehicles all but screeched to a halt. That’s when local and state leaders started looking for ways to bolster the area’s manufacturing industry, reports NPR.

The northwestern Indiana County saw electric vehicles (EV) as its salvation after its unemployment rate soared to 20 percent—the highest in the nation at the time.

Electric cars were supposed to be the silver bullet to revive Elkhart’s economy. President Obama visited twice, promising stimulus funds to spark a new economic engine in EVs.

A common criticism of President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package has been that it failed to produce anything—that while the New Deal built bridges and dams, all the stimulus did was fill some potholes and create temporary jobs.

One success the Obama administration duly claimed is the rebirth of the EV industry in the U. S.

Automakers unveiled a number of mass-market EVs, which saw small but rising sales. Battery and parts manufacturers built 30 factories and created new jobs.

It was all part of an effort to promote “green” manufacturing and put a million electric cars on the road by 2015, reports Pro Publica.

The question was: Would it last?

Elkhart once believed it would.

Eager to seed a new industry, the county witnessed EV ventures sprout out of nowhere as the stimulus took off in 2009.

This is Amish Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But by late summer 2011, what had sprouted were mostly weeds. The parking lot of the Think Electric Vehicle factory had an ample supply of them and looked deserted.

There wasn’t a single car in the parking lot. The doors were locked and the windows dark.

At the back of the 200,000-square-foot facility were about 120 road-ready models, called the Think City—a little two-seat fully electric coupe that has a range of about 100 miles before it needs to be recharged.

Hundreds of laid-off factory workers were supposed to have found jobs churning out these Norwegian company’s bug-like, plastic-bodied cars.

Today the Elkhart factory employs two.

That’s right—just two employees are working in this auto plant. At its peak, the plant employed 25 workers. Then two waves of layoffs dropped the payroll down to just two people.

It’s a far cry from the more than 400 that Think Electric Vehicle promised it would hire two years ago.

In June (2011), Think’s parent company filed for bankruptcy.

The decision left the Elkhart plant on the brink of extinction until the American subsidiary was purchased by a Russian entrepreneur who promised to restart production in early 2012.

Then in late January (2012), its largest shareholder and battery maker, Ener1, which received $118 million in stimulus money, also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, reporting that the demand for EVs “did not develop as quickly as anticipated.”

Navistar International had received $39 million in stimulus money to build 400 electric delivery trucks in the first year. But by early 2011, it had hired about 40 employees and assembled only 78 vehicles.

Little remains of Elkhart’s dream of becoming the EV capital?

Elkhart’s economy, however, is on the way back with the RV industry again leading the way.

Welcome to Nappanee, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They’re heartened by a rebirth in the industry that some here thought might never bounce back—the RV business.

“Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated,” says Gregg Fore, president of Dicor Corp. Its companies supply components to RV manufacturers.

Fore says the industry’s downturn was brutal, with business falling off close to 60 percent. But demand for RVs has come back strong, he says.

In 2011, the industry produced more than 250,000 RVs. That’s 100,000 more units than the low-water mark in 2009.

Dicor’s factories are once again humming—and hiring, he says. And Fore believes the market for motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and campers is here to stay.

But one thing that hasn’t changed, he says, is that the fortunes of Elkhart and its 51,000 still lives or dies with the RV industry.

Nearly half of all the jobs in Elkhart County are in manufacturing. And fully half of Elkhart County’s manufacturing jobs are in making RVs and their parts.

The “free” money has now been spent.

The RV industry has come back—it always comes back and without stimulus money from the White House.

This is why government should get out of the business of telling the people they should drive.

Worth Pondering…

Keep your eyes on the horizon and blaze a trail.

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Does MVP RV Have a Future?

Riverside, California-based MVP RV had credited its revival to Chinese investor Winston Chung who pledged to give the company $310 million to build recreational vehicles for China.

MVP RV has shut down and will be sold off amid a dispute pitting one foreign investor against others.

After faltering in 2009, the company had been given a second chance and seemingly a financial windfall when Winston Chung, a Chinese businessman and inventor of a type of lithium batteries, came to its rescue, Press-Enterprise reports.

Chung was named chairman of the board and after making an initial investment, pledged another $310 million to MVP RV so it could export 30,000 recreational vehicles to China including all-electric models, a plan that earned the company a trip to Washington, D.C.

This wasn’t the first time MVP RV had been revived in its short life that’s included very public ups and downs.

Three former Thor California executives started the company in mid-2008 just as the recession was taking hold and by 2009 shut down the factory in search of an investor.

At first, the company made the auto show rounds lauding a partnership with a South Korean firm to build all-electric cars, but the deal never happened.

Less than 18 months ago, MVP held a job fair, looking for 80 people to work at Fleetwood Enterprise’s former factory in Riverside, with a promise to hire 150 more within two months. More than 2,000 people applied.

MVP had already used money from its new foreign investor to buy Fleetwood’s old plant for $18.6 million in a bankruptcy sale. Many of the people who wanted to work there were veterans of Fleetwood or companies such as National RV Holdings, Weekend Warrior, and Thor of California, all of which were victims of the recession and had closed.

MVP RV Jazz fifth wheel trailer exterior. (Source: mvprv.com)

But Chung had been one among a group of Chinese investors called Fadar International who now argue Chung shoved them out of the MVP investment, used the RV company as a method to gain international prominence, and crafted a fraudulent document to claim full ownership of their stake in MVP RV, according to a lawsuit filed last August in Riverside County Superior Court.

The litigation is pending, but in mid-December Fadar International called for the shutdown of MVP RV and signed over its assets to a firm that liquidates companies to pay off creditors versus forcing a company to file for bankruptcy, according to Press-Enterprise.

Shortly after, the company laid off its entire workforce of about 200 people.

MVP assigned all of its assets to a private, non-profit, liquidation firm on December 12, according to Michael L. Joncich, a manager in the adjustment bureau for the Credit Management Association (CMA), a nonprofit company that currently controls MVP RV’s assets.

MVP RV had sold off all its trailer and RV inventory to dealers and since December had not taken any new orders.

Joncich said the company owes creditors $37 million, confirming that Fadar International, Chung’s former business partners who have sued him in Riverside County Superior Court alleging fraud and breaching contracts, is owed a substantial amount of that sum.

Other creditors include vendors and dealers may have had claims on warranties.

CMA has received interest from potential buyers, Joncich said. Once an initial bid has been made, the firm would allow others to enter in higher bids.

MVP RV Tahoe Class C motorhome exterior. (Source: mvprv.com)

Information about the sale of the company’s assets—including the real estate it owns in Riverside County, inventory, and parts as well as the brand name—would be available on CMAauctions.com, according to the Press-Enterprise.

Industry insiders report that Chung—despite his financial struggles and other recent failed business ventures in Southern California—is a leading candidate to repurchase the company’s assets.

“If we’re unable to get a reasonable offer, then we would hold a public auction of the manufacturing assets and list the real estate for sale, or put it into a real estate auction,” said Joncich.

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Worth Pondering…
You don’t pay the price for success. You pay the price for failure.

—Zig Ziglar

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Enova and Freightliner Display Green for Free Vehicle

Torrance, California-based Enova Systems, Inc., a leading developer of proprietary hybrid electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components for the emerging green commercial vehicle market announced that one of the first pre- production vehicles resulting from Enova’s and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp’s (FCCC) recently announced Green for Free initiative will be on display at the Portland International Auto Show January 26-29.

The Portland International Auto Show estimates that around 150,000 attendees will have the opportunity to view the latest Green, Alternative Fuel, and Electric Vehicle Concepts at the Auto Show’s Eco Center.

In its second year as one of the largest Eco Centers in the nation, visitors will be able to find out more about the latest technology in vehicle charging, solar power, and a large range of electric and electric hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, according to a news release.

The Green for Free Program is designed to allow fleet executives to operate full 100 percent electric commercial vehicles (EVs) for similar life cycle costs as those of diesel-powered commercial vehicles.

The anticipated savings fleets are expected to realize from the reduced maintenance and fuel cost of electricity of the electric vehicles are used over a period of time to cover the incremental expense for the technology. Fleet vehicles targeted with the Green for Free Program stand out as possessing unique characteristics that make them clear beneficiaries of electric drive technology.

With more than 16.3 million vehicles in operation, the nation’s fleets possess enough capacity to drive initial ramp-up scale in the EV OEM supply chains. This is the first Program that is engineered to eliminate the overall incremental costs associated with buying and operating an all-electric vehicle, making the Program attractive to fleets that are both large and small.

Enova and Freightliner Displaying ‘Green for Free’ Vehicle in Portland. (Credit: greenforfree.com)

FCCC and Enova plan to gradually deploy a total of 3,000 alternative-fuel vehicles beginning in the second half of 2012 as a result of the Green for Free Program. Enova and FCCC have defined the Green for Free Program as a new sustainable transportation model in which both companies are working in partnership with commercial fleets to offer a transportation model that provides clean, safe domestic and renewable energy.

Details

Enova Systems, Inc.
Enova Systems is a leading supplier of efficient, environmentally friendly digital power components and systems products. The Company’s core competencies are focused on the development and commercialization of power management and conversion systems for mobile applications.

Enova applies unique ‘enabling technologies’ in the areas of alternative energy propulsion systems for light and heavy-duty vehicles as well as power conditioning and management systems for distributed generation systems. The Company develops, designs and produces non-invasive drive systems and related components for electric, hybrid-electric, and fuel cell powered vehicles in both the “new” and “retrofit” vehicle sales market.

Address: 1560 West 190th Street, Torrance, CA 90501

Phone: (310) 527-2800

Website: enovasystems.com

Green for Free

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Enova partner unveil the Green for Free Program. (Credit: greenforfree.com)

The Green for Free Program intends to allow fleet executives to purchase all-electric vehicles for the cost of a diesel-powered commercial vehicle. The projected savings fleets incur from the reduced maintenance and fuel savings of the electric vehicles (EVs) are then used over a period of time to cover the incremental expense for the technology.

FCCC is already well-established in the market and can provide immediate volume, which is required to reduce high-cost components, such as batteries. Additionally, the project looks to focus on disciplined duty cycles, utilizing 80 percent of the battery daily, versus design for extended range.

Website: greenforfree.com

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC)
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van, and school bus, and shuttle bus markets. FCCC is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

Website: freightlinerchassis.com

Worth Pondering…
Learning is not a spectator sport.

—D. Blocher

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