Grand Junction electric car manufacturer sold

Evergreen Electric Vehicles based in Grand Junction manufactures models for a variety of uses, including personal transportation for the low-speed vehicle market. (Photo courtesy EverGreen Electric Vehicles)

Phil Castle, The Business Times

A Grand Junction-based company that developed a line of electric cars for commercial as well as personal and recreational uses has been sold to a manufacturer best known for making forklifts.

The deal isn’t expected to significantly change daily operations at Evergreen Electric Vehicles at its offices in Grand Junction or its factory in Long Beach, Calif. The company employs six people in Grand Junction and another 20 to 30 people in California.

Clark Materials Handling Co. purchased EverGreen Electric Vehicles. Financial terms weren’t disclosed in a news release announcing the transaction.

Based in Lexington, Ky., Clark is best known for the more than 1 million forklift trucks the company has built over the course of the last century.

Keith Andrews, president of EverGreen and one of the founders of the business, said he expects the acquisition to benefit both companies. “Clark brings remarkable resources, including purchasing, engineering and financial strength to bear on our mutual behalf. We could not be happier for our end users and employees.”

Dennis Lawrence, president and chief executive officer of Clark, agreed. “Their product offering complements our existing product line. Industrial vehicles are a market segment many of our dealers already participate in, and EverGreen’s addition will only strengthen the position of many of our dealers in their specific territories.”

EverGreen Electric Cars was founded seven years ago as Fairplay Electric Cars primarily to build golf cars. But the company quickly diversified its product line.

The company entered the market for low-speed vehicles, those legal to operate on streets with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less.

While low-speed vehicles long have been popular in golf and retirement communities in Arizona and Florida, they’ve gained popularity elsewhere and with a broader demographic among consumers not only looking for a less expensive way to get around, but also a means of transportation with no emissions.

Late last year, EverGreen endorsed a canopy with solar panels that extends the range of its electric vehicles between charges as well as the life of the batteries.

In addition to personal vehicles, though, EverGreen also manufactures electric vehicles for commercial and industrial applications as well for off-road use.

Scott Johnson, vice president of business development for Clark, said electric industrial vehicles that haul light loads and people constitute an important addition to the company’s product line of electric and internal combustion forklifts. Both types of vehicles are used in such settings as distribution centers, factories and warehouses.

“To us, it’s a perfect fit,” Johnson said.

Clark expects to roll out plans for the distribution, marketing and sales of industrial electric vehicles over the next 90 days.
At the same time, though, Johnson said he’s also excited about the potential for increasing sales of electric-powered personal and off-road vehicles as well as for new equipment and after-market parts. “We see a continuing need for their products,” he said. “We’re encouraged about that.”

Meanwhile, Johnson said he expects no change in the day-to-day operations of EverGreen either in terms of its sales and marketing operation in Grand Junction or its manufacturing operation in Southern California.

Moreover, Johnson expects Clark to take good care of the brand. “We’ve been around for a long time. We take brand stewardship very, very seriously around here.”