Pepper Motion realigns sales focus and management team

The German electric conversion company Pepper Motion has announced a readjustment of its sales strategy and a reorganisation of its leadership team. Whereas in the past, new bus and truck models were developed in advance, the company will, from now on, only do so after commissioning and an individual requirements analysis with the customer.

According to Pepper, this is a reaction to the hesitant approach to the electrification of public transport bus fleets and the trucking sector in Germany. “Market behaviour and industry requirements have developed in a way that is different from what we anticipated. We have learned from this and shifted our focus to the international truck market and public transport outside Germany. More and more of our competitors in the repower sector are also turning their backs on German public transport,” says Pepper Motion CEO Andreas Hager. He now leads the company with Till Hake, who just joined the management board.

The core of Pepper’s business remains the marketing of its electrification kits, including modular drive systems for the electrification of used or new buses, trucks and special-purpose vehicles. The company, from Denkendorf, Bavaria, and offices in Garching near Munich and Paderborn, currently employs around 100 people. The Vienna-based subsidiary Pepper Motion Austria is the group’s software development centre. Sales partners in France, Italy and Poland also represent the company.

On top of shifting its sales focus, Pepper Motion is also changing its management team: Till Hake took over as head of operations on 1 April 2023. The 60-year-old is said to be an expert in business transformation, growth and process optimisation and has many years of experience in the commercial vehicle and automotive sector.

“I’m delighted to be part of this highly motivated and qualified team. Innovative concepts that address the current dynamic market environment are needed if we are to finally drive mobility transformation in the commercial vehicle industry in a meaningful way. Pepper offers practical solutions and, working together with my colleagues, we will be bringing them to the streets on a large scale”, says Hake.

In his new role as Vice President IP and Technology, Matthias Kerler (previously CTO) will continue to be responsible for technology and innovation and lead the technological-strategic development roadmap. Vera-Maria Graubner (Chief Operating Officer), Hendrike Dreier (Chief Financial Officer) and Robert Reisenauer (Chief Sales Officer) have left the company. The investor structure remains unchanged.

CEO Hager emphasises that the motivation for the electrification of bus fleets, and thus for retrofitting, is consistently low, especially considering the German public transport’s difficult overall economic situation. “Sustainability as a central requirement for achieving climate targets has so far played a totally secondary role in vehicle procurement for buyers and fleet managers. The same applies to freight transportation. And this is in spite of the clear requirements laid down in the European Clean Vehicles Directive (CVD), which will result in financial consequences from 2025 onwards if the required quotas for low- and zero-emission vehicles are not met”, it says in the press release.

According to Pepper, Germany’s funding programme for light and heavy-duty commercial vehicles with alternative, climate-friendly drive systems failed to set any noticeable development in motion. It was launched in autumn of 2021 and also takes retrofitting into account. “In particular, small and medium-sized bus operators, which make up the bulk of the market, often do not receive funding because of the stipulated criteria and therefore do not consider investing in the electrification of their fleets.”

In September 2022, Pepper Motion announced it would expand its model range to include the Mercedes-Benz Actros MP5 and enter new markets: The company also signed an agreement with Skoda to convert diesel to electric buses. The cooperation gives Pepper broader access to various markets, including Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. It also grants exclusivity for its solutions in, for example, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria or Finland.


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