ASHLAND, OR - The Southern Oregon University (SOU) Facilities Department and the Oregon Institute of Technology are collaborating with Ambiente Motors, a local electric vehicle venture, on an electric truck pilot project.

Ambiente will convert one of SOU's existing landscape trucks using its own electric powertrain design and over the next 12 to 18 months, SOU will pilot test the truck as part of a viability study for converting its entire vehicle fleet to electric.

Up to now, SOU had not found any electric trucks that met their needs. "With Ambiente's conversion, we have the added benefit of using the vehicles we know and being able to extend the use of our existing fleet instead of having to purchase expensive new trucks that we are not familiar with," said Director of Facilities Drew Gilliland. "Our goal is to convert our entire small and medium-duty truck fleet to alternative fuel by 2016."

The SOU's electric truck conversion project will also include participation from OIT. The truck will be installed with Remote Electric Vehicle Diagnostics ("RED Cloud"), an electric vehicle fleet management system developed as a commercialization effort between OIT and Ambiente. It allows fleet managers to track a variety of data from their electric vehicles fleet remotely via a web interface.

RED Cloud will be installed in SOU's electric pickup in early 2011, according to Ambiente.