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Eli Pruett is the owner of Bumblebee Batteries, a company that creates and distributes battery packs for Honda Hybrid cars. Today we are interviewing Mr. Pruett to learn more about his entry into the hybrid battery business, and the creation of Bumblebee Batteries.
Mr. Pruett, we would love to know your background. How does one eventually end up in the hybrid battery business?
As an avid ‘techno-geek’, I’ve always been passionate about alternative energy, electrical and mechanical engineering, and technology in general. I bought my first Insight out of necessity – as a courier driver logging over 100,000 miles per year. The Insight was a no-brainer. As luck would have it, I would get out of that line of work not long after buying my first Insight. However, I had already fallen in love – the quirky gadget and doodad oriented fuel-sipping car was here to stay. I soon acquired a second one, and then a third. I was a well known member of the community, providing build services for the various electronics the community would cook up, and helping them to better understand the car.
So how did this love for the Honda Hybrid lead you to create Bumblebee Batteries?
We were already owners of the cars we provide batteries for. I had a presence in the Insight community as a moderator and frequent contributor on Insight Central. We have the oldest one of these brand new batteries in existence – the first prototype. I was called upon to help test this first prototype in the “real world” when they were first introduced, due to my strong understanding of how the hybrid system in these cars worked. The opportunity presented itself to actually be able to offer this amazing product, and Bumblebee was born.
With getting off to such a unique start, were you ever able to get around to creating a business plan for Bumblebee Batteries?
We launched our business earlier than expected. We had a business plan but it was
changed almost immediately, although our core values have always stayed the same. We
have always wanted to share our experience and knowledge with our customers and we have
tried to keep a very high customer service standard. One thing that a lot of other hybrid
battery companies do are refurbished batteries, which has never been in our business plan.
Why did you purposefully exclude that type of service from your plans?
From the beginning we didn’t feel this was a viable option and we want to be there for
our customers. I don’t expect we will ever do refurbished batteries, at least for any of our current makes and models, unless there is a really accurate way to test and find good cells. Even the Honda refurbished batteries don’t have a long life at this point and they are the original manufacturers of these products.
Bumblebee Batteries has been in business for two years. In that time, have you ever wanted to throw in the towel?
I don’t think there was ever a time we wanted to give up. There were times we were
frustrated with the typical things business owners face, but we tackled them the same way
we do any problem. We face it head on, and do what it takes to fix it, and we keep heading
Bumblebee Batteries, LLC is headquartered in Portland, OR. You can learn more about their products by visiting www.bumblebeebatteries.com. You may contact them at 11918 SE Division St #290 Portland, OR 97266, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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