Lifelong automobile enthusiast Ronn Ford is turning to the crowd to make his dream of a line of futuristic, high-mileage and sustainable performance vehicles for the masses a reality. Together they will also be taking steps to save the planet.
Today Ronn Motor Group launched its Regulation A+ campaign, where they can raise up to $50 million to create a full line of next-generation, eco-friendly vehicles including electric sports cars and electric trucks. The premium automobiles and transportation platforms will incorporate disruptive technologies and state of the art performance and design while maintaining a global conscience.
Mr. Ford said he has been in the automobile industry in some shape or form for 50 years. Since opening up his first bodyshop with $500 in his pocket, he has been involved in everything from race cars to restorations to even museum work.
“God must have needed someone to work in the automobile industry and he chose me,” Mr. Ford said.
His work in the industry even took him to China in 2007 to teach how to improve their sports car design process which in some respects mirrored American processes from the 1960s.
It was in China that Mr. Ford had an epiphany. While Western automobile ownership rates were high, in China there were only two cars for every 1,000 people. When that rate increases, it would have drastic impact on the planet.
“It is no longer an option not to work within world carbon reduction, emission reduction and sustainable energy guidelines as it becomes a matter of human quality-of-life and health,” Mr. Ford wrote in his introduction to Ronn Motor Group. “With disruptive technologies that address sustainable transportation solutions, we expect to introduce premium electric hydrogen automobiles that are feasible, adaptable, and scalable.”
Mr.Ford has more than a decade of experience in sustainable transportation. In 2008 he designed and built the Scorpion, one of the first hydrogen-assisted, eco-exotic supercars. It developed a strong following among industry enthusiasts, and while it didn’t quite make it to market, Mr. Ford is confident the Scorpion’s fans will be paying attention this time too.
“Automobile enthusiasts are the largest affinity group in the world. If you build great cars in the US, you’ll attract people globally too.”
And crowdfunding is the perfect way to tell them all about it Mr. Ford said. Through the Ronn Motor Group campaign, they are letting their core group know they are back while taking advantage of social media channels to let everybody else know about it too – affinity groups and average people who like automobiles and who care about climate change and the future of our world.
Mr. Ford gave credit to those who have gone before him, including Elon Musk, who s driving the new market for electric and hydrogen cars.
He also mentioned Paul Elio, whose Elio Motors campaign set industry records and exposed millions of people to both crowdfunding and a new way to think about the automobile. Mr. Ford, who said he has known Mr. Elio for many years, said Ronn Motor Group was close to launching at the same time as Elio Motors, but decided to wait and watch how his friend operated. What he saw was validation.
“He drove an incredible amount of exposure, reservations and investment,” Mr. Ford said.
Mr. Ford intends on pairing the crowdfunding campaign with face-to-face meetings with investors. Social media will attract many, then the old school, personal touch will seal the deal.
Positive early results caused Mr.Ford to grow his vision, he explained.
“We were originally just going to build a new super car but the market and our desire to change the world are so strong that we began to focus on being an automobile company and not just a manufacturer.”
Ronn Motor Group purchased a Swedish factory that manufactures electric buses, and is in negotiations to open a plant in another country too. That, along with other agreements, will give them plenty of space to quickly ramp up production to meet any demand level.
Mr. Ford said the first product will be the Phoenix EV, an all-electric, all-wheel drive, electric-hydrogen, zero emission roadster. It comes with an optional hydrogen fuel cell or plug-in hybrid. Featuring a 600-plus horsepower engine, the Phoenix EV goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. The estimated battery range is 300 miles, a total which doubles when the hydrogen fuel cell range extender option is added. Plug-in recharge times are 15 minutes for an 80 per cent charge. More specifications are available on the Ronn Motor Group website.
The initial cost will be $150,000 and if all goes well, production should begin in early 2019.
Between regulatory changes and market awareness, now is the time, Mr. Ford believes.
“Once the market started catching hold and seeing the mandated changes, this is going to happen no matter what you believe.”