SEA Electric’s President for the Americas and its Chief Strategy Officer, Mike Menyhart has told T&B News during a visit to Australia this week that he can see a strong future for the company, particularly as a specialist electric driveline provider for the commercial vehicle industry across the world.
Menyhart was in Australia to visit the local SEA Electric operation and to speak with dealers and customers as the company plots its expansion and positions itself to service the growth in demand for electric trucks.
During the wide-ranging discussion, Menyhart told us that he believes SEA Electric is well placed to meet the demands of a wide range of OEM truck makers for electric drivelines, saying SEA Electric was able to provide proven drivelines that had already been developed, enabling them to produce zero emission trucks in less time and at lower cost.
He cited the relationship SEA Electric has forged with Toyota truck subsidiary Hino, both in the USA and here in Australia as an example of what could be achieved.
“The relationship with Hino has been a success for us and it works very well for Hino, not only in the USA but also in Australia,” said Menyhart.
“The feedback from customers on the SEA Electric trucks is very positive, we visited one customer here in Australia today and he was very happy with the SEA Electric truck saying it is super reliable, going out each day and making deliveries without any problems at all, and they are very happy with the truck,” he said.
Asked what would come of the relationship with Hino when the manufacturer eventually and inevitably developed its own electric trucks, Menyhart told us that he believed that OEMs would still look to SEA for electric drivelines, and that there were a number of different offerings the company could deliver to manufacturers and customers in the zero-emission space.
“We really are a specialist zero emission driveline provider, our IP is highly-developed and we are in discussion with a number of OEMs at the moment, which I can’t discuss just yet, but it is really very exciting,” said Menyhart.
Although he avoided the comparison, Menyhart painted a picture of SEA as a electric driveline supplier in the same way Cummins has been a long time supplier to the diesel truck market.
“We are not a Cummins, but they are in the electric space as well now and I believe we have an offering that has already been proved,” Menyhart said.
As SEA Electric’s president for the Americas, Menyhart leads the company’s sales, marketing, business development, and after-sales operations in North, Central, and South America as well as being responsible for IT, sourcing, and supply chain globally for the company that was started by Australian Tony Fairweather, and which is now headquartered in Chicago.
As its chief strategy officer, he leads the development and execution of SEA Electric’s corporate strategy, including its focus on fleet electrification, advanced mobility and the alignment of its product and technology portfolio, as well as leading its partnership and merger and acquisition activities.
The American is not from an automotive background, coming instead from a long career in the banking sector and three years with global business services company, Genpact, as its global growth leader, the position he left to take take up his role with SEA three years ago.
During his career, Menyhart says he has developed his expertise in strategy, corporate development, as well as profit and loss and change management.
He has worked with start-ups, a strategy consulting firm, and Fortune 500 environments to create, build and drive strategies to grow revenue, enhance shareholder value, and drive market leadership.
Menyhart said he was surprised during his visit down under, at the slow uptake of electric cars in Australia, not just commercial vehicles but cars as well.
“It’s really quite noticeable by comparison with the USA, and I am a bit surprised, but in commercial vehicles we can meet the growth in demand and we see enormous potential in Australia,” Menyhart concluded.