WHICHEVER WAY THE TECHNOLOGY WINDS BLOW, UQM TECHNOLOGIES INC. PLANS TO CATCH THEM.
Golden-based UQM, which changed its name earlier this year from Unique Mobility, hopes to use its reputation as a pioneer in alternative-fuel motors to bring other emerging alternative-energy technologies to market.
"We're not just a sleepy little R&D company anymore," says CEO Bill Rankin.
Over 34 years, UQM (AMEX: UQM) has developed fuel cells, electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, wind turbines, and "clean" stationary power generators. The way Rankin sees it, UQM is holding a bunch of "lottery tickets." If any one technology takes off, UQM will have hit the jackpot.
"We could satisfy our shareholders on just the fuel-cell compressor," he says.
The company's new strategy, however, draws on its traditional expertise with engines as it hunts for new markets and even new companies to reach those markets.
Two years ago, UQM acquired Aerocom, a gear manufacturer in Frederick, Colo., as well as Franklin Electronics, an assembly manufacturer in St. Charles, Mo. Renamed UQM Power Products Inc. and UQM Electronics, respectively, the two units now produce 88 percent of the company's revenues, which hit $20.3 million in the first three quarters of fiscal 2001, already approaching UQM'S total 2000 income of $20.6 million.
In January, Ecostar Electric Drive Systems asked UQM to supply fuel-cell compressor drive motors for Ford and DaimlerChrysler. (Ecostar is part of a fuel cell alliance between the two auto manufacturers and Ballard Power Systems, a fuel cell player.)
But Rankin doesn't foresee a market for fuel-cell vehicles in the near future. Because of...