Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

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Paul
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We all know that Vectrix has a sad balance sheet. There have been whispers of the company folding for some time now.
Motorcycle News ran a story a couple of weeks ago about a possibility of BMW entering the scooter market.
I also heard a little rumour today that BMW is interested in the Vectrix brand and products!
Could the two threads tie together?

I am a huge BMW fan and a Vectrix owner, sounds like a perfict match to me.

Anyone else heard anything?

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Mik
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

Maybe we'll be able to get a center stand then...one that does not only work, but even lifts both wheels ever so slightly off the ground!

Or it's maybe a repetition of the old "the big guys buying the patents to lock them up" theme.

After all, the Vectrix battery seems to be the only large format NiMH battery currently available - time to sort that out and re-establish the unfettered reign of the ICE bike!

HAHA! Love starting rumors!

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jdh2550_1
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

Mik wrote:

After all, the Vectrix battery seems to be the only large format NiMH battery currently available

Dude - that's why their balance sheet sucks! NiMH should have been a great battery - unfortunately Cobasys (owned by Chevron - they bought it from GM) had their heads so far up where the sun don't shine they killed large format packs. But NiMH is going to follow the way of the dodo and SLAs.

Read the Vectrix financial report where it talks about a huge write off due to a bad purchase agreement with an unnamed battery supplier (can't remember the exact words).

But, back on topic - I hadn't heard any rumors yet. But I think it makes sense for BMW to buy them - after all I've always said that the Vectrix is good but too expensive. It's a bit like the rest of the BMW line up! Seriously though, if BMW buys Vectrix for pennies on the dollar and then starts selling the BMW skinned VX-1 LFP version through it's dealership they might actually be able to do something Vectrix never managed - make a profit.

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Buzby
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

Oh I do hope not. BMW have no 'soul' - look at what they did to the C1, which was planned to revolutionise scootering, yet instead of persevering with it, they baled out and left those who DID support the concept high and dry. I donlt believe Vectrix are in an any worse situation than any other similar business - the only worry is they options may be limited after the banks refuse to look on anything that isn;t wrapped in gold leaf as 'unsafe'.

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Mik
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

accordingly trading of the Company's common stock on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange will be suspended with effect from today, pending publication of the Accounts.............
A typical motorcycle/scooter produces significantly more CO2 and pollutants than a large diesel truck,.....
"

http://investing.thisismoney.co.uk/security.cgi?csi=113276&action=news&story_id=2689352&rns=1

Trading on AIM for the under-mentioned securities has been temporarily suspended from 31/03/2009 7:30am pending publication of the company's annual report and accounts.

http://investing.thisismoney.co.uk/security.cgi?csi=113276&action=news&story_id=2689354&rns=1

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Mik
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

jdh2550_1]
[quote=Mik
wrote:

After all, the Vectrix battery seems to be the only large format NiMH battery currently available

jdh2550-1 wrote:

Dude - that's why their balance sheet sucks! NiMH should have been a great battery - unfortunately Cobasys (owned by Chevron - they bought it from GM) had their heads so far up where the sun don't shine they killed large format packs. But NiMH is going to follow the way of the dodo and SLAs.

So is everything else - follow the path of the Dodo...
The question is only when!
So far, NiMH batteries are the only ones with a proven track record of reliable, long distance performance in existing production EV's on the roads. The only battery chemistry with a proven track record of outlasting the vehicle it is installed in.
Sure, you want to be at the cutting edge with your scooter development, but the track record is not there yet. Any of the newer battery chemistries (Li based) are only as reliable as the BMS controlling them! And we'll see how long these early BMS' last on real roads! My guess is that they will fail much earlier than the NiMH cells in the current Vectrix, Toyota RAV 4EV, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic etc.

Quote:

Read the Vectrix financial report where it talks about a huge write off due to a bad purchase agreement with an unnamed battery supplier (can't remember the exact words).

I have of course read it when it was published long ago.
The write off had nothing to do with he particular battery chemistry as such, it was because they had sold much fewer scooters than they thought they would sell, and they had thousands of batteries left over. These batteries are still somewhere, and they might soon be much sought after if they do not get destroyed! Not only for Vectrix scooters, but for all sorts of battery storage applications. The tax punishment they received as a result of having too many batteries still lying around might have had something to do with the whole hullaballoo around large format NiMH batteries, the patent for them, and all those conspiracy theories or facts. But it has nothing to do with the inherent performance of NiMH batteries.

Quote:

But, back on topic - I hadn't heard any rumors yet. But I think it makes sense for BMW to buy them - after all I've always said that the Vectrix is good but too expensive. It's a bit like the rest of the BMW line up! Seriously though, if BMW buys Vectrix for pennies on the dollar and then starts selling the BMW skinned VX-1 LFP version through it's dealership they might actually be able to do something Vectrix never managed - make a profit.

We'll see - or rather you will - if you can make a profit in this market, once you actually have a scooter to sell! Good luck, seriously.

We, as a species, are quite obviously destroying the basis of our survival on this planet.

And no-one can say that they could not have known, at least no-one with the luxury to be able to read VisforVoltage on this fine April Fools Day in 2009!

But you might still have a massive problem selling your scooters, although, as the carbon-climate-crisis deepens, it should become a bit easier.

So, please, stop bagging your competition (or rather the ex-competition for your so far virtual product, because they stopped trading today!) on dodgy technical grounds unless there is a good reason for it.

NiMH is not a good reason, even if the current hype for Li cells seems to say otherwise.

It seems quite obvious to me that these Li cells / batteries will only last as long as their BMS works perfectly, and that includes both LVC (Low Voltage Cutoff) AND overcharge protection. Once any part in the complicated BMS fails, the battery gets damaged irreparably, maybe even catastrophically, depending on the type of Li chemistry used.

At this stage I lack the technical expertise to hazard a guess as to what part of the average Chinese - or home made, like the Fechter BMS - is most likely to fail first, but you'll have a hard time arguing that the Li chemistry BMS's are likely to outlast the vehicles which they are mounted in until they have performed on the roads!

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turok
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

HALLELUYAH!

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jdh2550_1
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

Mik - how much do you know about the history of the NiMH battery, the inventor and the company that owns the patent rights? It makes for interesting research.

This is the section from the January 2009 preliminary report that I was referring to:

Adverse Purchase Commitment

During fiscal 2008 the Company entered into an agreement to settle outstanding purchase commitments and a strategic agreement to develop lithium battery technology and production capability (the "Lithium Agreement") with a battery manufacturer. Under the agreement, the Company agreed to pay consideration of $4,208,500 to settle its adverse purchase commitment. Of this amount, $3,979,500 was recorded as an adverse purchase commitment in fiscal 2007 and the remaining $229,000 was recorded as an adverse purchase commitment in fiscal 2008. This amount was settled through the payment of $3,090,000 for NiMH batteries and a commitment to deliver Vectrix scooters valued at $1,118,500. At 30 September 2008, the Company had a balance of $791,000 in accrued liabilities representing the amount of scooters not yet delivered to the battery manufacturer.

I interpret that differently than you do. To me it says "we want to buy lithium technology but we need to get out of our agreement to buy NiMH first". And from there it's not too much of a leap to conclude that NiMH wasn't a good choice.

I can see how you might interpret it differently.

As far as Lithium being "hype" - well there's certainly a LOT of interest in making Li a better technology. How much interest is there in NiMH? There's probably more interest in improving lead acid than NiMH (Firefly springs to mind). NiMH might last a long time in other uses but I strongly believe that it's days in EVs are numbered (even in hybrid cars).

As far as reliability and the importance of a good BMS? I'm surprised to hear that coming from you. Don't you have defective NiMH cells precisely because the stock Vectrix BMS wasn't as good as it needed to be? Or did I misunderstand some of your previous posts? I believe the reason NiMH is prevalent in those cars you mention is that it was a "safer" choice at the time those cars were on the drawing board (many years before they were sold). I believe the reason those NiMH batteries are lasting a long time is because a Hybrid doesn't stress the batteries nearly as much as an EV. In the case of the RAV4-EV I guess Toyota did a good job with the BMS! (That would be before Cobasys successfully sued Panasonic and Toyota for patent infringement and effectively shut down NiMH battery use in pure EVs and killed the highly successful RAV4-EV).

In essence I think it's a wash between LiFe and NiMH - I've not seen any reasonable comparison of robustness between the two chemistries.

I don't think those are "dodgy technical grounds". Sorry, but I'll continue to "bag" on folks on this message board. That's the nature of message boards - informal discussions of topics of interest. A little bit of humor and rivalry makes it more interesting. In my mind all the folks from Tesla through GEM who go out and design a whole new vehicle from the ground up to make an EV are barking up the wrong tree. The successful ones will use a pre-existing design and make the necessary engineering updates to make it electric. Look at it this way - there are a lot of barriers to overcome to get folks to buy electric so why make that job harder by building a whole new bike (or car, or golf cart)? In my opinion Vectrix is the poster child of this fundamental misstep. They bit off more than they could chew. BMW (or some other player) might end up benefiting from that. It's a shame - I wish Vectrix had survived in their own right.

If you think I'm "bagging" on Vectrix to increase my sales opportunities then you're misinterpreting my posts. I guess I need to try and communicate better. You're also ignoring (yet again) the times when I say that the "Vectrix is good but it's expensive". If folks can afford a Vectrix and it meets their needs then they will likely be very happy with it. Bottom line is that there's room in the market for more than one two wheel EV.

(p.s. thanks for wishing me luck - I do appreciate it - and I do recognize that we all need luck!)

----

Edit: wanted to change this line:
"In essence I think it's a wash between LiFe and NiMH - I've not seen any reasonable comparison of robustness between the two chemistries."

In essence I think it's a wash between LiFe and NiMH when it comes to the need for a BMS - I've not seen any reasonable comparison of robustness when no BMS is present between the two chemistries.

(After all, I don't think it's a wash between the two chemistries I think LiFePO4 is superior in terms of cost, power density and cycle life)

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Mik
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

jdh2550_1 wrote:

Edit: wanted to change this line:
"In essence I think it's a wash between LiFe and NiMH - I've not seen any reasonable comparison of robustness between the two chemistries."

In essence I think it's a wash between LiFe and NiMH when it comes to the need for a BMS - I've not seen any reasonable comparison of robustness when no BMS is present between the two chemistries.

(After all, I don't think it's a wash between the two chemistries I think LiFePO4 is superior in terms of cost, power density and cycle life)

Well, good luck with your attempt to create the track record which would prove your assumption!

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jdh2550_1
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

Mik wrote:
jdh2550_1 wrote:

Edit: wanted to change this line:
"In essence I think it's a wash between LiFe and NiMH - I've not seen any reasonable comparison of robustness between the two chemistries."

In essence I think it's a wash between LiFe and NiMH when it comes to the need for a BMS - I've not seen any reasonable comparison of robustness when no BMS is present between the two chemistries.

(After all, I don't think it's a wash between the two chemistries I think LiFePO4 is superior in terms of cost, power density and cycle life)

Well, good luck with your attempt to create the track record which would prove your assumption!

Yeah - it was a pretty extreme move by Vectrix. I mean they went and declared bankruptcy rather than taking on the mighty CuMoCo!

(OK, I'll go and take my meds now...)

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Mik
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

JDH, you should not have scared them so much! Now we know who's fault it is, I knew it all along... ;-)

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RaDy
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

JDH, if H-D or BMW or whoever, buys Vectrix, you should try to become a Vectrix Dealer along with your other brands. You seem to take time,understand and be involved in all matters about EVs. Ha ha :) Have you seriously thought of selling Vectrix Scooters if it survives? onlytime could be of some help to introduce you to someone for making a deal!(If his optimism and knowledge workout.):)

onlytime
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

RaDy wrote:

JDH, if H-D or BMW or whoever, buys Vectrix, you should try to become a Vectrix Dealer along with your other brands. You seem to take time,understand and be involved in all matters about EVs. Ha ha :) Have you seriously thought of selling Vectrix Scooters if it survives? onlytime could be of some help to introduce you to someone for making a deal!(If his optimism and knowledge workout.):)

Initials RMC thats all I can say. But it will happpen and it is happening.

jdh2550_1
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Re: Rumour- sale of Vectrix?

RaDy wrote:

JDH, if H-D or BMW or whoever, buys Vectrix, you should try to become a Vectrix Dealer along with your other brands. You seem to take time,understand and be involved in all matters about EVs. Ha ha :) Have you seriously thought of selling Vectrix Scooters if it survives? onlytime could be of some help to introduce you to someone for making a deal!(If his optimism and knowledge workout.):)

Nope, I'm never likely to sell Vectrii (is that the plural of Vectrix?). They're over-priced and under-perform - I like the fact that the Vectrix exists. They got some things right. But they got more wrong. Hence they're as dead as the monty python parrot. Sorry.

If I could wave a magic wand (which I can't) then I'd buy their chassis and put in CuMoCo's powertrain. Or perhaps an even better "cost no objective" powertrain. That would be for a limited run of bikes - I wouldn't try and manufacture any more Vectrii. That way one could sell the remaining VX-1++ as a limited run collector's item - a Ferarri among electric maxi-scooters (rather than the Cadillac it currently is). But that ain't going to happen anyway - we might try and make an offer but I doubt we'll get anywhere.

Personally I'd give it a 1 in 5 chance that Vectrix will succeed - even if onlytime's client buys something then it doesn't mean they can succeed. As I posted elsewhere - Vectrix had a swing for the fences approach to success. If they'd hit a home run they'd be everyone's champion. Trouble is there are a lot more strike outs than home runs. Getting a new batter in place who expects a home run is going to just produce the same results. If the new owner is in it for the long term then buying Vectrix doesn't buy them much - the power of the brand will fade as new (and BETTER) products come along. Can the VX-1 be improved? Yes. Can it be built and maintained in a low cost fashion? I doubt it.

I guess I'm more in marcopolo's camp than in onlytime's. I do believe onlytime is working with someone who has every intent to purchase - whether they will or even can succeed in purchasing something from the remains of Vectrix I have no clue. However, as mentioned above I can't see why they'd succeed where the first guys failed. The VX-1 as a product is flawed - that would be OK if the VX-3 thru VX-n got better and better (don't get me started on the VX-1E and VX-2 - we'll put that down to desperate death throes!). The 1 chance (in the 1 in 5!) is that the VX-3 is closer to the market than we think and is substantially different than the VX-1 (i.e. a LiFePO4 VX-1 by itself is not enough). Such a mythical VX-3 might be worth it.

I suppose another scenario is if onlytime's client (or any one else) had a completed product ready for market they could attempt to buy Vectrix for the brand alone and immediately try and leverage that. I don't think the Vectrix dealer network would be receptive - so no value there. But, as someone else mentioned, although they're the best known all-electric motorcycle they're still a long, long way from being well known.

Hmmm, I could rant on some more. But I've probably already po'd enough of the Vectrix faithful. No harm meant. You all got the Cadillac of the all-electric maxi-scooter segment. You got a good product. It's just not as good as it could be...

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