A fool thinks small

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A fool thinks small

brucedp

http://www.fool.com/investing/high-growth/2010/11/24/were-focusing-on-the-wrong-electric-vehicle-market.aspx
We're Focusing on the Wrong Electric-Vehicle Market
By Travis Hoium  [twit/flushdrawfool]  Nov 24 2010
... I can't help thinking we're focusing on the wrong type of
electric vehicles in the media. We hear about ... Volt ... Leaf ...
Tesla ... but we get no news on the practical applications that are
driving the few profitable (or nearly profitable) companies in the
industry.

Headlines are nice, but as an investor, I'm more concerned about where
I may be able to profit from this trend. GM and Nissan both expect to
sell their electrics at a loss (at first), and Tesla is burning money
trying to get the Model S launched -- so where is the profit going to
come from?

Think small
... scooters ... are selling like hotcakes. Scooters make almost too
much sense as an electric vehicle. They're small and lightweight and
never travel long distances -- at least I wouldn't drive one very far.
We aren't talking about a huge market, but it makes more sense in a
lot of ways than having an electric family sedan.

The challenge would be the U.S. market, which has never had great
tolerance for tiny vehicles such as scooters. But I think a cool
electric motorcycle would sell in reasonable volumes if a little
design work went into them ...

I’m not expecting Harley-Davidson owners to run out and buy an electric
motorcycle, but as a sport-bike guy, I could handle doing away with its
annoying zing for the silent ride of an electric. [zeromotorcycles.com]
is the closest thing we have right now to a stylish electric bike, but
the smaller electric vehicles could use a little more love from both
the industry and the media.

Think big
... Frito-Lay and Staples are purchasing a combined 217 vehicles for
local distribution, and the government is considering [Smith Electric]
for a 100-vehicle fleet as well.

Commercial electric vehicles make more business sense than passenger
electric vehicles do, because defined routes and schedules allow for
charging time.

Commercial drivers also don't take vehicles on the occasional
cross-country road trip, a major deterrent for electric vehicles right
now ... I don't see why semi-trucks can't be at least partially
battery-powered as well ... Build charging stations on major highways
every 100 miles, and when drivers are sleeping, they can get a full
charge for the road. That may be a little bit of wishful thinking, but
the payback for a truck driving tens of thousands of miles a year has
to be faster than for a city commuter.

The bottom line
Whether you're looking big or small, the electric-vehicle market has
more going on beyond just the cars getting all the headlines.
Commercial trucks and scooters may not be as exciting, but ...
something to consider when you're looking at investing in the
electric-vehicle revolution.



http://electric-vehicle-discussion-list.413529.n4.nabble.com/30k-EMC-7-Passenger-Station-Wagon-range-220mi-65mph-ts-75-MPH-NaNiCl-pack-td3090514.html



     

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Swigz Pro EV race bike tests at Infineon

Bill Dube
http://green.autoblog.com/2010/12/16/swigz-pro-racing-electric-superbike-first-track-test-infineon/

You will recognize our long time EVDL lister Rich "Madman" Rudman in
the picture.

It looks like a very powerful very competitive machine.

Bill Dube'


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Re: A fool thinks small

AMPhibian
In reply to this post by brucedp
Scooters are not going to do much in the US.  A public concerned with range and comfort is not going to start hopping on scooters no matter what powers them.  Electric motorcycles could very well catch on but that's a different animal, and a different buyer.

brucedp wrote
The challenge would be the U.S. market, which has never had great
tolerance for tiny vehicles such as scooters. But I think a cool
electric motorcycle would sell in reasonable volumes if a little
design work went into them ...
 
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Re: A fool thinks small

Mark Grasser
Jee,
I have to disagree. If you go to any moderate sized city in the Midwest you
will see scooters. Never saw them before but you see them now. My son has
one, uses it all summer long, all his friends ask to borrow it. I think it
is an up and coming item.

Sincerely,
Mark Grasser
 


-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf
Of AMPhibian
Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2010 6:24 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [EVDL] A fool thinks small


Scooters are not going to do much in the US.  A public concerned with range
and comfort is not going to start hopping on scooters no matter what powers
them.  Electric motorcycles could very well catch on but that's a different
animal, and a different buyer.


brucedp wrote:
>
>
> The challenge would be the U.S. market, which has never had great
> tolerance for tiny vehicles such as scooters. But I think a cool
> electric motorcycle would sell in reasonable volumes if a little
> design work went into them ...
>  
>

--
View this message in context:
http://electric-vehicle-discussion-list.413529.n4.nabble.com/A-fool-thinks-s
mall-tp3092642p3094098.html
Sent from the Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list archive at
Nabble.com.

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KiwiAC open-source inverter logic board on Ebay

Bill Dube
I just noticed that there is a KiWiAC open-source inverter control
board on Ebay (from manufacturer).

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270681449687

for those of you that want to build your own custom controller.

Bill D.


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Re: A fool thinks small

Lee Hart
In reply to this post by Mark Grasser
>> Scooters are not going to do much in the US...

Mark Grasser wrote:
> Jee, I have to disagree. If you go to any moderate sized city in the
> Midwest you will see scooters. Never saw them before but you see them
> now. My son has one, uses it all summer long, all his friends ask to
> borrow it. I think it is an up and coming item.

I agree with Mark. Hundreds of thousands of electric scooters have been
sold in the US already. Yes, they were mainly junk; but they sold! That
shows that there *is* a demand.

Unfortunately, the quality was so low that many of them quickly failed.
This has the sad effect of "poisoning the well", so people will now be
reluctant to buy another one, even if it is higher quality and would last.

It's mainly the kids and youth that see them as desirable
transportation. My son has one (that I fixed so it actually works
reliably), and he (and his friends) use it a lot.
--
Lee A. Hart | Ring the bells that still can ring
814 8th Ave N | Forget the perfect offering
Sartell MN 56377 | There is a crack in everything
leeahart earthlink.net | That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen

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Re: A fool thinks small

EVPower
Lee is right. The quality of the import scooters, especially those from
China were/are less than good, and that's being polite. Both gas powered
versions and electric. The electric versions were as bad, if not worse.
(a few years ago). The controllers would always burn up. I've heard
horror stories of electric scooters catching fire while charging in new
e-scooter owner garages. Then comes the parts support, again, it was
very bad to non-existent. IF you were able to get a part at all, it was
probably the wrong one. Batteries exploded, controllers burned up,
electrical wiring shorted out, and entire wiring harnesses melted while
grounded to the frames. Other problems were poor routing of the wiring
to close to exhaust manifolds (in the case of gas scooters) which caused
shorts in the electrical systems when the wiring melted.

All this is something one must consider if one is to manufacture and/or
sell electric scooters in the USA. A massive influx of 100's of
thousands (if not millions) of very poor quality low priced scooters
were imported into the USA starting around 7-10 years ago. One of the
worst parts about this is that many USA companies who started importing
distributing the scooters here in the USA were put out of business when
the Chinese started their own USA distribution centers in California,
Texas, Florida, and New York. All the major cities near ports-of-call
were populated with new Chinese import companies which dealt directly
with the end user.

 From factory floor, to ship, to distribution center direct to the US
consumer. They cut out the middle men (US Based distribution and
dealers; the supply chain was broken) To add insult to injury, barely an
effort was made by the Chinese companies to support the products they
were selling, and over the years USA based dealerships dried up one by
one. Even some of the big Honda, Yamaha, and other brand name dealers
were forced out of business because the Chinese companies could afford
to drop the price to barely above regular dealer wholesale cost, and
still double their money. When American companies went overseas and
bought or acquired their own factories in China, the US based Chinese
companies simply lowered pricing here in the US to barely 10-20% above
their cost.

The American consumers jumped on the low priced scooter deals, and many
got burned when the Chinese distribution centers sometimes outright
refused service. No service was available, and local small engine, and
electrical shops were inundated with massive amounts of import scooters
in need of repair. Some repair shops even started turning away anyone
with import scooters. Then the whole process of getting parts started
all over again. Dealers, and repair shops couldn't get parts from the
distribution centers, and the soon some were faced with lawsuits from
angry consumers. Dealers went belly-up, and I know of many that closed
their doors forever. Some were brick and mortar dealerships that had
been in business for 10-20 or even 30 years or more. (some of them
closed due to the economy).

Now, things are starting to get a little better, but all this bad
service and lack of parts over the last 7-10 years has made the American
consumer gun shy when it comes to any import gas or electric scooter.

To mend the bridge and be successful in the scooter biz, the key is to
create a quality product backed by solid people, parts, and service.

Regards,
Eric




On 12/18/2010 5:46 PM, Lee Hart wrote:

>>> Scooters are not going to do much in the US...
>>>        
> Mark Grasser wrote:
>    
>> Jee, I have to disagree. If you go to any moderate sized city in the
>> Midwest you will see scooters. Never saw them before but you see them
>> now. My son has one, uses it all summer long, all his friends ask to
>> borrow it. I think it is an up and coming item.
>>      
> I agree with Mark. Hundreds of thousands of electric scooters have been
> sold in the US already. Yes, they were mainly junk; but they sold! That
> shows that there *is* a demand.
>
> Unfortunately, the quality was so low that many of them quickly failed.
> This has the sad effect of "poisoning the well", so people will now be
> reluctant to buy another one, even if it is higher quality and would last.
>
> It's mainly the kids and youth that see them as desirable
> transportation. My son has one (that I fixed so it actually works
> reliably), and he (and his friends) use it a lot.
>    

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Re: A fool thinks small

Matt Childress
In reply to this post by Mark Grasser
I'd agree with Mark's disagreement from college campuses (University of
Illinois).  I've had Frat boys ask:

        "Is that electric?  Only one in town?"
          Yup.
        "!@#$!@$! Yeah!"

Never woulda happened in my college days...

I'm seeing all sorts of cool electric things -- right now there are
electric powered "foot type" scooters (think of a heavier weight Razor
skateboard plus handle bars).  Technically illegal on Illinois roads
(and definitely the way they drive em the wrong way one-way streets)...

The younger generation(s) are much more tuned in.  That being said in
the same breath that my 16-year-old babysitter was saying she needs more
work to pay for gas, and I told her that I could help her convert a
bicycle to an eBike that would cost her a lot less to operate and free
parking.  I got a definite frown and "I'm not riding a BIKE!" as she'd
just got her driver's license so that was a negative thing.  

So I think the bicycle moniker is problematic to the eBike thing.
Perhaps moped is a better name for marketing.  The "real" bicyclists
don't want a electric assist, and the kiddos don't want to be seen on a
bicycle!  That's why I like some of those chopper-style e-bikes!

M@

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On
Behalf Of Mark Grasser
Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2010 5:56 PM
To: 'Electric Vehicle Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [EVDL] A fool thinks small

Jee,
I have to disagree. If you go to any moderate sized city in the Midwest
you
will see scooters. Never saw them before but you see them now. My son
has
one, uses it all summer long, all his friends ask to borrow it. I think
it
is an up and coming item.

Sincerely,
Mark Grasser
 


-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On
Behalf
Of AMPhibian
Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2010 6:24 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [EVDL] A fool thinks small


Scooters are not going to do much in the US.  A public concerned with
range
and comfort is not going to start hopping on scooters no matter what
powers
them.  Electric motorcycles could very well catch on but that's a
different
animal, and a different buyer.


brucedp wrote:
>
>
> The challenge would be the U.S. market, which has never had great
> tolerance for tiny vehicles such as scooters. But I think a cool
> electric motorcycle would sell in reasonable volumes if a little
> design work went into them ...
>  
>

--
View this message in context:
http://electric-vehicle-discussion-list.413529.n4.nabble.com/A-fool-thin
ks-s
mall-tp3092642p3094098.html
Sent from the Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list archive at
Nabble.com.

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