Minnesota startup sees a growing niche market for electric work trucks
Zeus Electric Chassis intends to specialize in customizable medium-duty trucks for commercial and government fleets.
An under-the-radar electric vehicle startup in Minnesota has signed a lease for manufacturing space and is finalizing its first sale.
Automotive engineer Robert Grinstead spent eight years designing and developing the prototype for Zeus Electric Chassis. The company will make a medium-duty work truck designed to be easily customized with a variety of tools such as boom lifts. Chassis refers to the load-bearing frame that a vehicle is built on.
The product is aimed at what’s still an underserved niche in the fast-growing electric vehicle market: flatbeds, cherry pickers, delivery trucks and other medium-duty class 4, 5, and 6 vehicles, which are a step up from the biggest pickup but a notch or two below a big rig.
“There’s not a lot of competitors that are out there with an all-electric, purpose-built, medium-duty truck that’s designed to easily integrate different configurations with work packages on them,” said Mark Rawson, chief operating officer of the California Mobility Center, a paid consultant and early supporter of Zeus that works to connect electric vehicle startups with California fleet owners.
Zeus’ relationship with the center has paid off with a pending sale to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which is expected to purchase five Zeus Electric Chassis vehicles for $1.2 million by the end of the month.
“I think it’s pretty cutting edge,” said Casey Fallon, director of supply chain and fleet operations for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Zeus offered the utility a fully electric vehicle with all the same configuration options standard with conventional medium-duty work vehicles. “It just really made sense.”