Reports Fantastic 50

MTC Transformers invests in technology for electric cars

MTC branches into power technology for electric cars

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Print this page by Donna C. Gregory

MTC Transformers has amped up its profits by finding new uses for old technology. Transformers have been around since the 1800s, but now they’re being used in emerging wind, solar and other environmentally sound technologies.

Because of the increasing attention given to global warming, MTC is betting on a hot market for reliable, easy-to-use electric cars. That’s why the company has started a subsidiary, Evatran, focusing on plugless power technology for electric cars. That kind of innovation has made MTC the manufacturing leader in the Fantastic 50 for two years in a row.

“I truly believe, 10, 20 years from now, most of our cars will be electrically fueled. Almost all of the major car companies have announced products that use grid electricity as fuel. There’s a lot of serious money being dumped into electric cars,” says Bob Atkins, the co-founder of Evatran.

The problem is that an ordinary household electrical outlet isn’t sufficient to charge an electric car. Electric car owners will have to install special equipment to plug into the grid. Evatran is developing a new technology that allows car owners to simply pull up to a charging station — no plug is needed.

Charging stations, to be located at homes, stores, restaurants and parking garages, will contain half of what is essentially a transformer, while the other half will be mounted as an adapter on the front of the electric vehicle. When the car is parked near the charging station, the two halves work together to induce the electro-magnetic force that produces the electric current needed to charge the battery.

“We’re not talking a small business here. We’re talking a whole new industry,” predicts Tom Hough, MTC’s president.

Evatran plans to start production on its first hands-free chargers this fall. The subsidiary may take MTC to a new level, but the company was already making great leaps on its own.

“We’ve sustained around a 30 percent growth for the last three years,” says Matthew Clarke, MTC’s general manager. “We understand transformers, especially specialty transformers. We continue to focus on the niche markets where the competition isn’t as heavy. [Highly engineered, very labor intensive] … that’s our bread and butter.”

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