Zeus in discussions with Choctaw Defense to build trucks

By Chad Elmore20 May 2021

Zeus Electric Chassis has signed a MoU with Choctaw Defense Manufacturing.

Zeus Electric Chassis Inc. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Choctaw Defense Manufacturing to produce its assembly kits and cabin/chassis at scale. Zeus is a fully configurable Class 3 to 8 electric work truck.

“As we build our backlog, we need a partner that can effectively meet the demand. Choctaw Defense Manufacturing provides tremendous talent, capability and future opportunity for Zeus,” said Wayne Kugel, CEO of Minnesota-based start up Zeus Electric Chassis.

Zeus electric truck

Choctaw Defense Manufacturing is a defense manufacturer owned by Choctaw Global, LLC, and ultimately, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the third largest federally recognized tribe in the United States.

The company has a track record of success with military and prime contractor customers. They are centrally located in scenic southeastern Oklahoma with facilities in McAlester and Hugo. The facilities are ISO 9001:2015 certified and encompass over 350,000 sq.ft. of manufacturing space.

“We’re extremely excited for this partnership with Zeus Electric Chassis as their engineering and product aligns with our capabilities,” said Sarah Curtis, Choctaw Defense Manufacturing interim president and Choctaw Global CEO. “Choctaw Defense Manufacturing is constantly looking for ways to expand our eMobility footprint and Zeus develops a top of line product that addresses environmental and industry needs.”

Choctaw Defense was formed from the roots of Choctaw Manufacturing and Development Corp., a supplier of laser-guided bomb components for Texas Instruments. It has also worked for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The company has a full staff of manufacturing engineers, machinists, welders, painters, assembly and support.

More recently, Zeus Electric Chassis said it would offer up to $50,000,000 (subject to increase) of Simple Agreements for Future Equity (“Series 2 SAFEs”) to an unlimited number of accredited investors. The company has engaged Silicon Prairie Capital Partners LLC, a registered broker-dealer, to act as a nonexclusive placement agent to assist the company in selling the Series 2 SAFEs in this offering.

The company said that EV mandates are driving the efforts to decarbonize work truck fleets in the United States. Fifteen states in the U.S. Climate Alliance have signed agreements to require 30% of their fleets to be electric by 2030, with more aggressive goals in California and New York further accelerating EV adoption in their states. Based on NTEA data, the 15 states with EV mandates represent over 40% of work truck sales in the U.S. – estimated at 140,000 trucks in 2021.

A potential market of $8 billion by 2030 is expected to be created in Zeus-targeted industries by the need to fulfill the EV fleet adoption mandates in these 15 states alone.

Along with establishing a manufacturing plant in Oklahoma, Zeus said it will continue to build its backlog, working with municipal fleets, utilities and OEM manufacturers to develop configurations. Zeus’ Product Design center is in Minnesota, from which its first work truck builds – secured by the Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District – will be delivered.

“Zeus is uniquely positioned to meet the inherent challenges and opportunities of EV fleet adoption,” said Robert Grinstead, Chief Technical Officer, Zeus Electric Chassis. “Our EV work truck chassis offers an innovative, thoughtful solution for the industry and the environment.”

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