Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019
Derek and I came across each other on Instagram. After seeing what he was doing I immediately asked to interview him. He welcomed any positive press and agreed. I had the Opportunity to sit down with Derek after the interview as well.
I was able to learn a little more about his company, but more importantly what kind of person he is. The questionnaire part of interview was completed a few months ago. Derek’s car just recently arrived in the United States a few weeks back. I went to Hatfield, Pa to check it out in person last weekend. Also, I was able to meet part of his growing sales team; leads coming from the top Volkswagen and Lexus dealerships in the area. They just like Derek were very welcoming, informative, and excited about what was happening there.
The car industry is pretty cut throat, but I was pleasantly surprised at what gentlemen and active listeners they all were.
No pretentious bullshit in this crew; he cut right to the chase and had quite the sense of humor about him. A very family oriented man. He loves his two daughters, and speaks highly of both of them. Derek’s mother and brother all are in the area as well. They take part in many charity events giving back to the community. Being so busy he still takes the time to give back and show gratitude for all his accomplishments.
For me not knowing the first thing about cars; after talking with Derek I feel like Id be able to speak intelligently about his new innovation. One cool feature not seen on many electric cars; the Avani’s fully retractable sunroof. Most electric car dealers leave this out not wanting to waste precious battery charge. The Avani will not have that issue.
Derek broke it down in a way anyone could understand. That is what you need when trying to sway people into the clean energy movement; understanding. If we don’t educate the public, how will they make informed decisions about helping our declining environment? Tony Ward actually took the photos for this article. Derek had a drone flying the day of inspection. That was also taking place at the same time as Tony was capturing his shots. The drone capture was a pretty monumental; a famous photographer capturing a new leading green car mogul.
Derek Automotive started taking pre-orders with a $2,500 refundable deposit starting in September 2019. Deposits will also earn the first 200 buyers one thousand shares of company stock, as a founding buyer incentive.
For all the information you’d need to know about Derek’s green car, please visit his site :
K.K. Tell me a little bit about yourself please?
D.B. I was born in New Orleans and I’m 50 years old. I studied Economic – Major & a marketing minor, at Virginia State University, and went on to study for an MBA at the University of Edinburgh, which I did complete – due mostly to the interruption of launching businesses.
K.K. Being a serial entrepreneur how many businesses have you had since the beginning of your career; were you happy with all of them?
D.B. Actually, I’ve not had a job where I received a paycheck since I was about 19. I’ve launched many businesses, with many failures, but also a few big successes. One being a Company called Popa Media which I sold for $11 million. I’ve been in the Temporary staffing business for over 35 years. It’s been the financial fuel for my other bigger endeavors like; Wolverton Bailey the company I co-founded to design and patent our new engine supercharger technology. After receiving two patents, I decided to launch Derek Automotive Technologies to commercialize our engine technology, as opposed to asking other companies to include my technology in their products.
K.K. When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the clean energy movement, and produce an electric car that has the ability to be self charging?
D.B. This whole effort has been about saving our planet, without harming our economy, as most approaches to climate change solutions seem to do. There are trade-offs to going green. When people talk about electric cars it’s as if they think the electricity comes from magic. Over 70% of the electricity produced in the world comes from burning fossil fuels, like coal and natural. If all electricity was created with nuclear energy or wind and solar, then electric cars make a lot more sense – no emission at the source of the energy, and no emissions at the vehicle – totally carbon free! What we have today is a situation where electric cars are pollution-shifting; no emissions in the car, but emissions are created far away at the electric plant. Our grid is so complex; it’s difficult to know the carbon footprint of a specific electric vehicle because we might not know where the power is coming from. I wanted to empower us to know the carbon footprint of every electric vehicle. The reason I wanted to build an electric vehicle that recharges itself is to get consumers to purchase electric cars! Electric car adoption has been slow because consumers don’t trust them and find them inconvenient (i.e., being able to recharge, the long time period required to recharge, etc.) plus they’re expensive. It’s my goal to solve these problems, and deliver an electric car that the masses will want to buy.
K.K. Can you tell me how the technology works?
D.B. We’ve created a technology we call a Proteus Supercharger. Of course Proteus is the god of nature /sea that could take any shape. The super charger is based on two patents we’ve been awarded. One patent is for a highly efficient combustion engine that burns all of its fuel (most of the pollution coming from vehicles today is unburnt fuel) so it emits 83% less carbon than today’s engines. The second patent is for a special amplifier-generator that intakes 1-volt on input end, runs it through a magnetic field and outputs 1000-volts on the other end. Our clean engine (technically, it’s called a prime-mover), which runs on a small amount of gas, turns the generator to create an abundant amount of electricity (gas-to-electric power generation) for the batteries and interior cabin in the electric car. The supercharger only creates electricity; it does not help power the car like in a typical Hybrid-car. So, effectively, we’ve put a small power plant inside the car to make it more convenient for consumers. We believe that most consumers will enjoy driving totally on electric power, but also spend only 2-minutes putting a few dollars of gas in the car, as opposed to sitting for a charge for 35-minutes up to 5-hours.
K.K. Who did you turn to for production of this new venture?
D.B. Unlike Tesla and others, we can’t raise the hundreds of millions required to build our own plant, so we’re using the Apple model where we design and have more experienced manufacturers build for us. The Chinese are actually leaders in building electric vehicles and we’re partnered with a Chinese manufacturer to build our electric car, and we will integrate our supercharger into it here in America, to create American jobs.
K.K. Is gaining investors easy considering it’s a form of clean energy, or is it difficult being it could shut other vehicle producers down?
D.B. We’ve been powered mostly by my own capital, and capital from small investors who share our passion for workable green tech solution to carbon emission from the transportation sector. It’s unfortunate to say, but minority-entrepreneurs don’t have the same access to venture capital as others. Seeing genius from us is still a little hard for many investors, so we have to be willing to bleed-alone to get things done – but hey, that’s the American way – entrepreneurship is for the rugged. As far as shutting down other producers, our goal is to produce a great vehicle, using our technology, get it into the market, have consumers go crazy for the power of electric driving, the recharging convenience, and then license our technology to all the other car makers. Licensing is another billion dollar opportunity for us.
K.K. What are some of the road blocks you have had to overcome along the way in testing / production?
D.B. You ever hear that song “no one knows the trouble I’ve seen?” Well, our roadblocks have been plenty. No one believed we could build a better engine. Once built, no one believed we could get a patent. Now we have two. No one thought I could get a car built. Now, that I’m introducing the car, no one believes I can build a car company against the big competitors and in the current car market. At each step it’s an excuse not to invest in us. Always with the assumption that I won’t make it to the next step. Yet each time I do – and now the incredible thing is I find myself still owning 65% of the company. Now, I’m only a few steps from shocking the world. I learned a saying a few years back – “as an entrepreneur one might have to bleed and cry by him/her self, but we also get to go to the bank by Ourselves.” It’s that thought that keeps me going.
K.K. Is this more of a luxury car, or will it be something that is affordable to everyone on a scale that will stop the way we pollute the environment?
D.B. This first vehicle is an SUV; its styling is like that of a Range Rover. We needed to design something that consumers would recognize and have an idea of its value. Once we make some money with the luxury vehicle, I will build an affordable car that I already have on the drawing board and named. That is a secret for now.
K.K. How do you deal with stress of starting something so new?
D.B. That’s a great question and I’m not sure I’ve found the answer. I workout, take long drives just to play music and think. I’m not in a relationship right now, the place where one would find the best stress relief, assuming the relationship is a good one. So, I struggle a bit with managing my stress – I’ll admit I sometimes turn to Mr. Jack Daniels and a mindless TV show. The key is I’m always ready to get back on the grind every morning.
K.K. What are your hobbies?
D.B. I like to hit golf balls, play chess, ride bikes, but business is my hobby. I also love cooking and construction because I can see the results of my efforts quickly, as opposed to the years it takes to build a business.
K.K. When will your self charging electric car be released to the public?
D.B. As I said earlier, I still have a few more steps to my ultimate goal of the self-charging car. This first car I’m revealing in September 2019 is an all-electric SUV. The strategy is to sell 150 all-electric units (same as what the other automakers are selling) and plow that money back into reducing the size and completing the integration of the supercharger into the electric vehicle – it’s a lot of work, still. To answer your question, I think we will have our self-charging vehicle on the market in early 2021, maybe sooner if all the stars align.
K.K. I noticed you were granted the right to import vehicles as well. What are you planning to do with that?
D.B. That import license is important because one can’t import vehicles into the USA without approvals from the EPA and DOT. This was a stepping stone for us.
K.K. Where do you see this taking you in the next 5 years?
D.B. In 5-years Derek Automotive Technologies will be known as America’s first minority-owned car manufacturer and the leader in carbon emission reduction from the transportation sector. We’ll operate in 3 countries, have sales in excess of $600 million and valuation of more than three billion; minting me as a new American billionaire.
K.K. What are your personal, company, and environmental goals?
D.B. My personal goals are to see my two daughters finish their schooling debt free, or near debt free, find my forever girl, and leave a legacy of having had a huge impact on climate change by reducing carbon emission in the transportation sector.
K.K. When will the launch party be?
D.B. The launch party will now be this fall. We had a bit of a trip through The Department of Transportation and got a bit delayed. Fall is the perfect time for a launch Party, everyone is back from vacation and ready for what’s new. I’m looking at a few locations as I couldn’t book anything because I was not sure when we’d get all our approvals.
Awww the stress of it all!
I’ll put out a notice on social media and my e-mail once the date and location is decided.
Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached on Instagram @kerlupwithkate
For collaboration e-mail: Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org
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