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Ideanomics buys Santa Rosa electric tractor maker Solectrac

A global New York alternative energy technology and infrastructure producer bought Santa Rosa-based Solectrac for more than $20 million, electric tractor company founder Steve Heckeroth confirmed with the Business Journal on June 18.

Total financial details of the acquisition by Ideanomics — which trades on the Nasdaq as IDEX — were undisclosed. Heckeroth will serve on the board and remain active with the company for three years.

“I guess I went zero to 60 pretty quickly,” Heckeroth told the Business Journal.

The 72-year-old businessman and engineer just moved his operation to a location near the Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa last March from his Mendocino County coastal homestead. This is where he brainstormed about alternative energy ideas to avert climate change for decades, and in May 2019 started the electric tractor company’s design and production with seed money from investors.

Ideanomics was an early suitor for Solectrac, having poured $1.3 million twice into the electric vehicle operation. Heckeroth obliged. So when the company approached him about transferring ownership, he seized the opportunity to return to his research and development roots as a primary focus.

“I developed it for where it needs to go. Now I want to go back to what I love,” said Heckeroth, who designed four models of zero-emissions tractors ranging in horsepower from 25 to 70.

The two-part acquisition, which closed on June 11, also involved full ownership of US Hybrid Corporation, a Torrance-based drivetrain and fuel-cell maker. Ideanomics wants to capture new and improved ways to deliver advanced energy technology to medium- and heavy-duty commercial fleet operations, which serves as an up-and-coming trend in the electric vehicle market, Ideanomics Chief Revenue Officer Kristen Helsel told the Business Journal.

“With the latest of EV offerings, there’s a concentration on farm equipment now. Steve has the right solution at the right time,” Helsel said of Heckeroth. “I think it’s an exciting business, and it’s going to change the world.”

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