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Concord’s Converdant Vehicles expands to New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy increases demand for Prius-run generators

Last modified: 1/14/2013 12:21:49 AM
The world of people who tinker with motor vehicles to make them more efficient or even emission-free is a relatively small one.

So when Concord’s Randy Bryan started getting orders in Superstorm Sandy-stricken New Jersey for his adaptor kits that turn a Prius hybrid vehicle into a generator, he turned to someone he knew down there for the first major expansion of his business.

Bryan has joined forces with Douglas Stansfield in New Jersey as the regional manager for Converdant Vehicles, the roughly one-year-old company he runs selling inverters.

Stansfield previously owned and operated his own company converting cars to run on electricity, and also works to install electric-car charging stations in parking lots, he said.

As Hurricane Sandy barrelled toward the New York metro area this fall, Bryan received several orders for inverters that would allow people to power their homes’ electrical needs off of the engine and battery in their Prius electric cars.

But he really found interest peaked after the storm, which knocked electrical service out to hundreds of thousands of people, some for weeks.

“A couple of people called me just before the hurricane, but mostly, folks wait until it’s too late, and then they get ready for next time,” Bryan said.

He’s been selling the kits locally or through his website since early 2012. As the rush of business from post-Sandy New Jersey hit, he turned to Stansfield, who also works converting vehicles to electric.

The main installation work for the converters is a cable that connects to the Prius battery and can be connected to the house when needed. It can be tricky for some customers to do themselves, so he called on Stansfield to help, first. Then he expanded their relationship.

“Doug was a natural resource for me to install some cables,” Bryan said, “and as soon as we started talking about cables, his ears perked up, and he showed great interest in the product and an interest in representing it.”

Stansfield’s excitement for electric vehicles and generators, and the Converdant inverter system specifically, is tangible.

“It’s a heck of a lot better than burning a gas engine generator, because your standard gas engine generator is just not as smart as the Prius,” he said.

The Converdant inverter systems range in cost from $200 to almost $2,000, depending on energy output, Bryan said. His customers are concentrated in the Atlantic and Pacific coast areas where there are more Prius owners, but he said he’s excited to move forward with distribution and is working on other products for future release, as well.

“This is not the end of the beginning for us,” Bryan said. “It’s the beginning of the beginning.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)


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