Almost everyone agrees that electric work vehicles are more reliable than gas. The real question is which group of electric work vehicles are the most reliable. For most electric vehicle manufacturers, the focus is on maintaining a design for many years which lowers manufacturing costs and allows for fewer parts to inventory. This approach may be good for them, but this is not the Columbia philosophy.
Progress Does NOT Stand Still
We refuse to stand still just to save on inventory or maximize return on a vehicle design. Every team member at Columbia lives out our vision, Inspired solutions that move our customers, every single day.
While our corporate soul is infused with this lifeblood of change and continuous improvement, it is anchored in very real metrics on measuring candidates for change and significant improvement:
- We are always striving to incorporate technological change developed in other business categories that can be applied to electric vehicles to help them operate better and be managed better.
- We are always testing our vehicles in the largest, worst, most hostile work environment before any units are produced for sale.
- We overbuild our vehicles to help ensure they will exceed customer expectations in their work environment.
- We have a team of personnel who are constantly testing units on our 6-mile urban drive test course.
- We have merciless testing machines that test the life of heavily relied upon items such as latches, safety devices, and seat belts tens of thousands of times to determine their reliability.
- We employ outside, independent testing companies to duplicate and extend our own testing to ensure that we havent shortchanged or overlooked any part of our vehicles.
- We crash test and park brake test our vehicles as part of our focus on safety.
- We have field evaluation teams that regularly visit user locations to determine equipment status within the context of mileage driven and usage environment.
- Work requirements for new customers often inspire us to make overall vehicle improvements that are incorporated into all vehicles once testing is complete.
- We believe that a reduction in warranty claims year-over-year is an excellent indication of how well we are executing the previous dimensions of our continuous improvement goal.
- In short, continuous change results in better, safer vehicles!
Being Conservative Pays Off For Buyers
It is our goal to delight every buyer of Columbia electric vehicles. We expect our vehicles to withstand rigorous environments. We help ensure this by being very conservative in what we do and say.
Each of our vehicles is overbuilt, thus incorporating a large margin of safety to ensure continuous operation. We intentionally make very conservative operating claims in our advertising and selling to ensure that owners are delighted with the performance of the unit(s) they purchase.
And even with all these precautions and design and testing elements in place, we build each model with additional features to ensure that when operating parameters are exceeded, there are options to make the situation tolerable. Two obvious features are vehicle fault modes in the controller that allows the operator to limp home with the vehicle, as opposed to having to shut it down entirely and having to tow it back to its base. The second feature is that our design team constructs and deconstructs a design many times. The result is a vehicle that can be repaired while ensuring the mechanic keeps all of his/her skin on their knuckles. Our engineering motto is We hate knuckle buster designs!