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AMP Unveils Electric Version of GM Equinox; “Secret Sauce” is the Drivetrain

AMP’s drivetrain for the electric Equinox. Click to enlarge.

Ohio-based Advanced Mechanical Products, Inc. (AMP), a company engaged in the conversion of new vehicles to full battery-electric drive, unveiled its latest all-electric conversion platform, the GM Chevrolet Equinox.

The “AMP’d” Equinox is an up-fitted GM Chevrolet Equinox that will reach a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h), and will accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in approximately eight seconds. With its 37 kWh Li-ion pack, range is 150 miles (241 km). The AMP Equinox features dual Remy motors—the same model used in the GM two-mode hybrid system—applied in an AMP-manufactured drivetrain that is the “secret sauce” for the converted vehicle, according to Steve Burns, AMP’s CEO.

Close-up of the drive system showing gearing. Click to enlarge.

Earlier in February, AMP and Remy International, Inc. signed a letter of intent for a potential long-term electric motor supply agreement. AMP will use the Remy HVH250 electric motors in their custom electric vehicle conversions. (Earlier post.)

AMP receives unhoused motors from Remy. For the Equinox, AMP configures the two motors “butt to butt”, with one motor for each rear wheel. There is no transmission or differential, and the result, says Burns, “from what we can gather is the most efficient drivetrain in the market.”. Such a configuration also reduces the weight of the final vehicle package. The Remy motors, says Burns, are very powerful, very light, and very inexpensive.

Our model is that we didn’s have the $3 billion to do a vehicle from scratch, and that even if we did, we couldn’s build a car as good as the Equinox...We found that a lot of [OEM] hybrid parts are suitable for us... they are already automotive-grade tested, there are spare parts, that whole mechanism is in place, and they will be producing spare parts for hybrids for years to come. Our own secret sauce is how we house the motors, and of course the software is unique.

—Steve Burns

The AMP Equinox pricing is expected to be below $50,000 after government incentives are applied.

AMP, which currently up fits Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice vehicles, is targeting the Nissan Leaf, with its 100 mile range, as its closest rival.

AMP CEO Steve Burns announcing the 150-mile range Electric Equinox. Click to enlarge.
Not only will AMP be the first to reach the market, but we will also be breaking the mold in terms of what the public expects from an all-electric vehicle.

Pre-conversion, the Chevy Equinox is an outstanding vehicle in its own right—winner of the Consumer Digest Best Buy award and a five-star frontal and side-impact crash safety ratings. This vehicle is truly a modern-day car, with all the features and stringent safety requirements the Chevy Equinox is extolled for. We are thrilled to bring our next 100% electric vehicle platform to market, as this latest offering is a clear display of our true passion for, and an unyielding commitment to, the environment and sustainability.

—Steve Burns

AMP, working in conjunction with a local GM dealer, is taking orders for the electric Equinox now, and expects the fully-converted vehicle to be available for a June 2010 delivery. AMP will have a formal unveiling, with demonstrations available, at the New York Auto Show, which commences on 2 April 2010.



Why not just leave an engine/alternator up front and have a range extended EV? That way there are no range issues and you do not have to pull so much out of the car.

Will S

Another useless electric SUV. And way too expensive...


The Equinox SUV seems to be right sized as far as the buying public are concerned. I would rather have millions of these running around at 20 mph than large SUVs at 10 mpg.

Nick Lyons

Way too expensive for the mainstream--especially if the $50,000 is only for the conversion and does not include the 'donor' vehicle.

Boutique green, if you will.


The AC Propulsion eBox cost $50,000 and did not include the Scion xB either.

You could buy the Equinox without an engine and transmission if GM would sell you any, much like Phoenix Motors did with the Korean SUV maker.

Better yet, leave the engine in, replace the transmission with a motor and sell the transmission for replacement stock. Make it a series/parallel range extended electric with maybe 4 kWh of batteries and see how the buying public responds.


The only market for this is commercial fleets.


They could do a through the ground hybrid for commercial fleets. Less to take out and less batteries needed. Utility companies might like the small SUV format.

Stan Peterson

With the know-nothing, PC green loons the Clueless One has installed in the government, this ought to be worth ten of millions in study grants and demonstration vehicles, at the very minimum. After all, Mr. Gore's Fisker obtained a Half a Billion dollars with only pretty pictures, clay mockups, and such, much less advanced and actual than this.

All you need to understand is for whom this drivetrain was designed and is being built.



I guess there are conspiracy theorists of all kinds. One is where they do something good for everyone and the other is where they get rich conning others.

Freddy Torres

4 miles per KW-hr is extremely efficient considering the coeffient of drag of an SUV. The Tesla roadster is a lot lighter than this SUV and it is still below 5 miles per KW-hr. The frictional losses must be extremely low.


Congratulations on this effort.
It's refreshing to see prepared to get hands dirty and share their ideas and efforts. That stands you in good stead.
You have taken off the shelf stock items that although I am not familiar or knowledgeable in this area, I gather you have done the homework and have a suitable item. Certainly no lack of power.

I would suspect that your workshop facilities could make certain modifications to the stock motors without any real technical difficulty. In particular the housing is to me "the secret sauce" and as such I propose you incorporate as many of the following as appropriate.

As it is difficult for me to see how much of the suggestions I make are already incorporated in your build, I apologise if I am making wrong assumptions.

If the motors supplied can be cut and fitted, or the manufacturer (or you) may consider modifying the frame end to simplify these mods. I assume you have fitted the motors as supplied to a machined housing. With sealed gearboxes and (possibly provision for engine cooling)
Anyway, my suggestions while quite lengthy are not beyond the achievements and directions you are already accomplishing.

My critique on this project would be to encourage you to explore some ancillary provision for water? cooling for the motors and lube options for the epicyclic.
Otherwise the width of this prototype could be reduced to allow inboard disc braking and longer drop axles.

I have thought that a clean sheet design could reduce the motor(s) width by nearly 30% If the inboard bearings were concentric or even mounted side by side on say one block. This could then share lubrication, it may be cast or fitted to your housing via a full diameter carriage or bearing housing.

The epicyclic also shares an axis with the outer motor bearing so that it may be possible to share either the bearing and or the lube supply.This would ensure adequate lube to all points, and allow for any sized reservoir, cooling and (if appropriate engine coolant in a simple package that maximises lube life and utility.
So three wet lube leak tight areas and a lube circulation system,(possibly centrifugal splash hybrid) with a reduction in overall length.

Options for engine cooling in this instance may include consideration of the use of the lube oil rather than a separate water cooling system. The housing may be constructed with coolant channels as the whole unit you present is unitised. This would allow the lube to circulate from outer to center to pump (external?) for simplicity and sealing.The housing may incorporate fins and even a reservoir.

I would like to see a body management(steering) program that allows split regenerative braking in place of the traditional pump driven A.B.S. not just for the tiny extra efficiency above normal regenerative braking, but it would replace the ABS pump power drain with an efficiency gain. There should be very little extra physical hardware required but require a well managed power management strategy (computer)program to achieve the well known road handling driver friendly benefits.
This also permits smaller braking units by virtue of reduced workload and it would be nice to see that translate to power saving through split regen and power balancing. If that proved problematic initially, eventually drive and brake efficiencies are there to be had.
We see the problems that Toyota are having with computer lockup and prioritising in this area but that shouldn't be a put off in the longer term.

Body management and braking through the electric drive motors is defeinately cutting edge and one needs to consider the front axle steering and braking interactions, but it is here to stay and can offer the savings and performance as demonstrated in numerous large makers vehicles presently on the market.
If your main talents lie in the mechanical area, then the electrical, electronics and programing will be managed by the (competent) specialists in those areas.

I look forward to seeing the working prototypes in action with great expectation.

Posted by: Arnold |

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