Five years ago, a new company emerged in Cullman with a unique technological system to power a vehicle without activating the engine.
Next month, the company — Zero RPM — will be one of three in the state to receive an Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Innovation Awards. The awards celebration will take place Aug. 23 at the Alabama Theater in Birmingham.
“That was truly a community effort, when Zero RPM needed a place to get started and was welcome at Wallace State Community College,” said Dale Greer, director of the Cullman Economic Development Agency. “This a great honor recognizing the innovation and importance of the work they do. Only a few companies in the entire state are recognized.”
At the time Zero RPM was getting started at Wallace State, the operation became part of a statewide announcement and drew former Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials to the campus for the event.
Zero RPM president Lance Self’s company created the IMS 100 idle mitigation system, which can power a vehicle and the air-conditioning for several hours via high-capacity batteries.
“We’ve been blessed, we’ve had good partnerships and great support from Wallace State and the economic development team in helping us find the right place to get started,” Self said. “We went from our initial testing with law enforcement and entered into a contract with U.S. Customs & Border Protection for the vehicles used along the border. Then we reached an agreement with Altec, which is major producer of bucket trucks. We’re in seven of their assembly plants in North America.”
Zero RPM is also working with Griffin Armor in Mississippi that produces armored vehicles. The company is also targeting ambulance manufacturers as a new customer.
“We love being in Cullman. It’s home and you have a great work ethic here and the partnership that started with Wallace State,” Self said. “We’ve doubled our revenue every year and this is where we want to be.”
The initial target market for Zero RPM was law enforcement, with the intent of cutting down on gas and carbon emissions while idling, but the potential has expanded into other areas, such as bucket trucks that must run for long periods of time during work.
Zero RPM now has a research and development center on Alabama 69, while production of its products is done at HH Technologies in Bremen.