Hercules Electric Mobility will be bringing rugged performance luxury eco-utility trucks to market in a new way. Founder and CEO, James Breyer, reveals how the upstart company plans to customise electric trucks and more.
Breyer comes from a fourth-generation automotive family. He has been working in the automotive industry for decades. He was instrumental in launching fuel-cell, hybrid, and electric vehicles while at Ford Research Center. At General Motors, he led the Chevrolet Volt powertrain and global EV powertrain development.
In March, Hercules Electric Vehicles launched a $20 million Series A investment round managed by CMD Global Partners. However, Breyer does not see the company as a start-up.
“Hercules Mobility is an upstart. We are brash. Many start-ups are fledgling. Hercules started in December 2018. We gained traction in 2019. Then the coronavirus slowed us down. In 2021, we are strong. We’ve got a lot of growing going on and a product under development. We’re in a good place,” says Breyer.
“We’re not rushing the product out. We’re in a good pleasant place–announcing a prototype,” he adds.
Breyer recently drove the Alpha truck and says the video will show the truck is not CGI generated. He is optimistic about the truck market.
In North America, the number one segment is the pickup truck. Now trucks are becoming a more desirable SUV replacement. Therefore, sports performance in a pickup truck and being electric with high-performance will rival the best SUVs and sports cars. And Alpha trucks are ultra customisable like Rolls-Royce or Ferraris, says Breyer.
“We plan on announcing strategies and pricing in the fall.”
The company recently announced that Italian design firm, Pininfarina, known for sports cars, will design the Hercules Alpha pickup and other products.
There are reasons to buy a truck for work performance. However, people really prefer a high-end pickup truck with comfort and performance. Plus, they want something personalised and more comfortable, adds Breyer.
He says the luxury sports performance truck market is skyrocketing. Many times people buy aftermarket products and spend $35-50,000 to customise the trucks. It is a big business. It is a seven to eight billion-dollar business. Data shows people want a truck that is a full extension of their personality.
There is a huge market for aftermarket customisation. The Alpha truck will compete with the high-end RAM TRX or the Ford Raptor.
Automakers are making vehicles with fewer options because it is easier for them to produce, says Breyer.
What Kinds of Customisation Will Hercules Offer?
“Hercules’ Alpha Truck is not one product that fits all. It is like a custom-made suit. It’s a custom fit for each customer,” says Breyer.
“We are innovating with partners with new technology that allows full customisation with zero VOC emissions for surfaces that is completely green.”
Customers will be able to customise the exterior colours. They will have the choice of interior materials with a Vegan option and seat embroidery. Seats will have more sports options with bolsters for comfort for both drivers and passengers.
“We have a celebrity client who wants high-contrast high-visibility pink stitching. We can do it. The process is greener than aftermarket customising because it is not ordering a vehicle and then throwing out the parts. We’re making it from the start,” he explains.
“We’re not trying to chase a trend. When you are totally unique, you create the trend. If someone is a Boho style or an Urban contemporary, we can do it. We’re not after the cowboys.”
For charging outdoors, Hercules offers the foldable TerraVis tonneau cover solar charging that can provide power for camping for a week.
What Kinds of Technology Will Be in the Hercules Alpha Pickup Truck? 1,000 Horsepower?
“We will be the first with solid-solid-state batteries,” says Breyer. Hercules has a partnership with Prieto for 3D Lithium-ion solid-state batteries.
Hercules offers two motor or four motor options. The trucks will have full torque vectoring for their four independent motors, active radar, lidar and ADAS features.
Funding documents show a Hercules EV partnership with NIO-XPT for electrification components and systems development.
“The ultimate model is expected to have a thousand horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph in the sub 3 seconds range,” he notes.
The Hercules Alpha will also have an extended range option for hydrogen. The module system can be used in the Marine market.
The trucks will be made with parts vendors from all over the world with the final product produced in the US and with high-tech components produced in the US, says Breyer.
He hints the production location is expected to be in the Midwest.
“We think of everything. It is a perfect spot. We want to be different.”
Hercules has a partnership for 35 US stores and an agreement for three Canadian stores (First Nation). The first US store will be located in Cerritos, California at the world’s largest auto mall. Followed by Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sales will be a hybrid sales model. Customers can order directly from Hercules, but will be sent to the appropriate dealership, says Breyer.
“Using a lean production process. Customers can define a package with a four to six-week turnaround.”
Breyer defines Hercules Alpha trucks as exciting advanced sports performance, customisable with electric function and fun.
“We think of everything. It is a perfect spot. We want to be different. We offer uniqueness with first delivery by the end of 2022: provided there are not any major changes,” concludes Breyer.
“We’ve got a lot more coming. We can’t announce everything right away.”