Unique Mobility Becomes UQM Technologies

Electrical vehicle component maker changes names and expands products into new markets.

Published: 15-Nov-2000

GOLDEN, Colo., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- UNIQUE MOBILITY, INC. (Amex: UQM) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a name change to UQM Technologies, Inc. The name change, if ratified by the Company's shareholders at a special meeting of shareholders scheduled for January 24, 2001, will become effective immediately thereafter. In addition, the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Franklin Manufacturing Company, will change its name to UQM Electronics, Inc. and Unique Power Products, Inc. will become UQM Power Products, Inc. The Company's common stock will continue to trade on the American, Chicago, Pacific, Frankfurt and Berlin stock exchanges under the symbol UQM.

"We believe this name change better reflects the substance of our Company as a technology leader for state-of-the-art, high efficiency electric motor, generator and electronic control systems for the alternative energy technologies sector including electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles and distributed power applications," Unique's President and Chief Executive Officer, William G. Rankin, said. "The markets served by our family of companies extends well beyond mobility products and we believe the name UQM Technologies will better convey to our current and future customers our organization's capability to apply our advanced technology to enhance the performance of their products."

The Company's technology is focused on four broad areas of application covering a wide range of products in various industries:

Stationary Power Generation

The deregulation of the utilities industry, brown-outs resulting from electric power demands in excess of capacity, pollution concerns and high fossil fuel prices have accelerated the development of alternative energy products that can provide supplemental or stand-alone power generation capability to existing grid supplied electric power. These developments have created an exceptional opportunity for the Company to exploit its expertise, technology and products developed for electric propulsion and hybrid electric vehicle under-the-hood power generation and management into the evolving market for distributed power. The Company's high-voltage and low-voltage motor/generators and associated electronic controls are ideally suited for distributed power generation equipment including variable speed natural gas and propane powered generator sets, flywheel energy storage systems and wind turbine generators. The Company's existing generator and electronic control products function across a wide range of operating speeds, deliver power within millisecond response times and are highly energy efficient. The Company currently has a number of internal combustion engine (ICE) based generator projects underway which have stationary power application potential, operating at power levels of 10 kW, 13 kW, 32 kW, and 70 kW. In April 2000, the Company announced that a variant of its Invacare wheelchair motor was developed as a generator to power the OB1kW wind turbine for Aeromax Corporation expected to be introduced this fall.

High-voltage Vehicle Power Systems

The Company has developed a range of highly efficient permanent magnet electric motors and generators ranging up to 100kW together with matched high power electronics and controls operating up to 400 volts for the emerging markets of electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. Its propulsion systems are microprocessor or digital signal processor (DSP) controlled allowing dynamic motor operation in forward or reverse in both motoring and regenerative braking modes, at system efficiencies over 90 percent for most operating conditions. The Company's patented "phase advance" technology provides both high torque and high speed in a single motor design. In addition, the Company develops custom solutions to meet specific customer application requirements including the integration of gears, electro-mechanical brakes, electronics and the like inside the hollow design of the motor, which allows for packaging advantages over conventional motors.

Typical applications for these systems include electric propulsion for on- road automobiles, buses, trucks and various off-road vehicles for the military, agricultural, construction, marine and mining industries. In January 2000, a UQM motor/generator system was featured in the General Motors hybrid electric Precept technology demonstration vehicle at the 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In March 2000, a hybrid electric powered Humvee, developed by PEI Electronics and operating with advanced propulsion system and generator technologies developed and manufactured by Unique, completed a marathon 3200 mile cross-country trip from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, California, doubling fuel mileage to nearly 16 miles per gallon with dramatically reduced tailpipe emissions. In July 2000, Atlantis Yachts of Delta, British Columbia announced its plans to begin sea trials of its Manta 5200 Power Catamaran that will offer an electric drive system as an option to the boat manufacturer's diesel-powered line of power catamarans. In addition, the Company is currently developing the next generation high-voltage vehicle power systems under sponsorship from the U.S. Department of Energy including a high power density propulsion system that has integrated into one package the motor, gearing, differential and electronic controls, and a modular line of motors that are expected to improve the continuous output of the Company's motors and generators by approximately 25 percent without increasing the size or weight of the machine.

The Company recently announced that it is working exclusively with Deere & Company to develop hybrid electric vehicle systems and components for future John Deere products. The application of these systems in combination with evolving technologies such as controller area networks and the new 42 volt electrical system standard can revolutionize the capability of products of industry leading companies like John Deere.

Low-voltage Vehicle Power Systems

For smaller vehicle applications, the Company has developed a range of highly efficient permanent magnet electric motors and generators with power ratings as low as .5 kW together with matched electronic controls operating at 12, 24, 36 and 48 volts. As is the case with the Company's high-voltage systems, packaging of other components inside the motor, patented phase advance capabilities and custom development activities are available to customers for these products. There is a sizable established market for low voltage electric vehicles including wheelchairs, golf carts, floor maintenance/sweepers, warehouse/utility vehicles, fork lift trucks and automated guided vehicles that can benefit from Unique's propulsion system technology in improved efficiency/range, performance and regenerative braking. Such is the case with the revolutionary gearless brushless direct drive propulsion motor that the Company developed and currently manufactures for Invacare Corporation's Action Arrow(R) Storm Series power wheelchairs. This motor is more efficient, more powerful, more responsive, quieter and requires less service than traditional power chair motors. In addition to the existing small electric vehicle market, new potential applications for electric propulsion include bicycles, motor scooters, lawn and grounds care products, neighborhood electric vehicles and boats.

Vehicle Auxiliaries

All conventional vehicles have a host of auxiliary products under the hood, most of which are driven by belts or closed loop hydraulic systems. As these vehicles become loaded with more power consuming electronic devices, the efficiency of under-the-hood auxiliary products such as power steering units, alternators, and air conditioning compressor units is expected to become increasingly critical to better utilize the limited electric power available onboard the vehicle. Consequently, the introduction of highly efficient 36V/42V electrically driven vehicle auxiliaries is expected to occur over the next five years as a replacement for inefficient hydraulic and belt-driven systems. Similarly, electric and fuel cell electric vehicles are expected to contain all electric auxiliary systems because of the removal of the internal combustion engine which currently drives vehicle auxiliary systems. The Company has developed numerous auxiliary drive motors and electronic controls for automotive customers including vehicle air conditioning compressors, power steering systems, fuel cell air handling system compressors and alternators and generators. Additional products include mechanical actuators, cooling fans, DC to DC converters, battery chargers and starter motors.

In addition to its impressive technology portfolio, the Company has established a solid manufacturing base in which to produce its wide range of products currently under development. Unique Power Products, Inc. produces Unique's proprietary electric motors as well as performs contract manufacturing of turn-key, build to print, precision gear sets for use in industrial, agricultural and construction equipment and heavy duty trucks and occupies a modern, well equipped 25,000 square foot facility. Franklin Manufacturing is a high volume, low cost contract manufacturer of wire harnesses, printed circuit board assemblies and complete electronic box builds for a variety of end customers, including automotive original equipment manufacturers. Franklin occupies a modern, 31,000 square foot facility equipped with the latest electronic assembly equipment. Both Unique Power Products and Franklin Manufacturing have achieved ISO 9002 quality certification. These contract manufacturing operations are synergistic, growing businesses in their own right and are contributing positive cash flow to support the commercialization of the Company's technology.

Unique Mobility, Inc. is a leading developer and manufacturer of power dense, high efficiency motors, gear assemblies and electronic assemblies for the automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, medical and industrial markets. A major emphasis of the Company is developing products for the alternative energy technologies sector including electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, 42 volt auxiliaries and distributed power applications. The Company's headquarters and engineering and product development center are located in Golden, Colorado. Manufacturing facilities are in Frederick, Colorado (electric motors and gear assemblies) and St. Charles, Missouri (electronic assemblies and wire harnesses). For more information on the Company, please visit its worldwide website at (http://www.uqm.com).

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the Risk Factors section of the Registration Statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-78525) filed by the Company with the SEC, which identifies important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including the Company's ability to be profitable, its ability to obtain additional financing, the Company's reliance on major customers and suppliers and the possibility that product liability insurance may become unavailable. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of the press release. The Company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

SOURCE Unique Mobility, Inc.

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