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A Super Bowl cameo

Local company’s vehicle is seen by millions when briefly featured in Audi advertisement.

February 10, 2010|By Mona Shadia

T3 Motion, a Costa Mesa manufacturer of electric vehicles, scored a cameo appearance on national television Sunday, when four of its vehicles were featured in a 60-second Audi ad that aired during the Super Bowl broadcast.

The company’s stand-up vehicles appeared in Audi’s “Green Police” spot promoting the A3 TDI, Audi’s new diesel-powered station wagon. “Officers” with the “Green Police” were depicted cracking down on people who displayed unfriendly attitudes toward the environment, such as shopping with plastic bags or using incandescent light bulbs. More than 100 million estimated viewers watched the Super Bowl on CBS.

Ki Nam, 50, president and chief executive of T3 Motion, said that for his company’s products to be featured in a Super Bowl ad was a gift from God.

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“Sometimes you get things you never expected,” Nam said.

T3 Motion didn’t pay a penny for the chance to appear in the Audi commercial. In fact, it got paid $1,600 for the three days that its electric vehicles were used in January for the commercial’s filming, said Jeff Simpson, T3 Motion’s marketing manager. For the ad, the vehicles were decorated with special livery, Simpson said. For example, one of the stand-up vehicles bore the words “Green Police.”

Nam, a South Korean who immigrated to the United States 37 years ago, is the epitome of a foreign-born entrepreneur whose American Dream has come true. In 1998, when he retired in his late 30s, Nam wanted to explore the world of electric vehicle technology.

He developed the motor and battery system for his vehicles in 2001.

“At that time, I thought if I developed that product, the car companies wouldn’t buy it .... they had no interest in electric vehicles,” Nam said. So Nam decided to wait things out. In 2006, he realized that he needed to come up with a new approach.

“I needed to make this type of vehicle for the non-consumer, small niche market that could be used by law enforcement, private security, more of a professional user market,” he said.

Nam picked three areas to market his product: law enforcement, private security and federal government agencies.

Today, T3 series vehicles are used by the Los Angeles Police Department and others in New York, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Canada.

T3 officials say their vehicles also are used for security at airports and college campuses, and by the U.S. military and federal agencies, such as the FBI and CIA.


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