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The E-Max Blog: "The Big Breakup" China v. Germany
Submitted by jason on Thu, 01/25/2007 - 23:00
The end result is that both German and Chinese partners in the original e-max line of scooters treated their USA customers and dealers unfairly and unjustly. As a result of the German and Chinese business decisions, and possible international fraud they may have commited, the US personal EV market will remain limping from this very sore breakup; I suspect for quite some time.
Most effected by this bad business experience were the die-hard PEV supporters here in the US that have contributed considerable experience and knowledge to our cause. These scooters we purchased were not just a business transaction, exchanging money for manufactured goods, a product. These purchases where based on social desicions we each had to make in our own ways, to affirm our commitment to our own social causes. Some may be either EV or battery enthusiasts, others may shout for justice, or sustainability, or against miliary occupation, or war, or dependence on fossil fuels, or whatever the cause.
Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the US not very long after I ordered my e-max in 2005. Already gas prices had hit $3 when I was getting used to riding my e-max. By the time I realized what happened, e-max had gone from a company I was supporting, sweating and breathing for, blogging my experiences until that sudden day I realized -- e-max was an illusion. The reason behind my purchase was very real. The company, however, just disolved into what we have today. If they treat their customers and dealers like they did, I can not imagine how they treat their own workers. Instead, what we are left with is a divided community, a cross-cultural disappointment, and continued oil dependence fueling our consumption nightmare.
I wish Li Jing "Good Luck" getting that first crate of scooters over to the USA. I will pray for the customers who buy one and expect support and service to be authentic. If parts are available, or realiable, or made with any quality - these are the questions we still have not proven and will most likely not waste our time and money finding out, again.
See, there are lots of Chinese companies making scooters. No kidding. The USA E-Max dealership network was what was so important, for US customers and to ensure successful sales to GGC Germany and their Chinese partners. The American customers need to know there is someone supporting their purchase and willing to back it up. Despite what American mass media and Hollywood will tell you, most Americans do not have a lot of money. Most Americans can not affort to buy a scooter, let alone a car. You can't treat customers in the USA like that and then expect sales here. WE TALK TO EACH OTHER. We won't forget how we were treated by those same partners, once united, now seperate entities hawking their own products, with no USA dealer support -- that'll be a difficult task considering good dealers are rarer than the customers they serve. Your companies have already screwed the best of the best. Anything less would be a shame for the whole EV community.
Now certainly the USA as a whole (ie. our bloated government, fat suits, mass media, bling-bling consumer culture, etc) probably deserves a little poor customer treatment considering their attitudes towards the rest of the world (and their own backyards, for that matter). However, I guarantee you that the USA e-max customer and dealers were not even close to being like that stereotype, and hence they are part of the solution to not use up all the resources in the world, not the problem, causing the serious inequities our country (but not us) have supported and encouraged along the way. I am very sorry about that.
In my own way, I am trying to do my part to wake up and Be, rather than crawl out of bed and cause someone (somewhere "else") suffering because of my carelessness, unsustainable actions, or ignorance. I believe in community, I believe in supporting people by encouraging them, inspiring them and enriching their lives by giving of myself in any way necessary. I wish there was a way we could all make our own scooters with parts created locally, sustainably, and without inequity towards others. I know that is not our reality right now. Each day we look at ourselves as the solution we move closer to that reality. Not this day, but some day.
I know I've been silent for a while now, ever since the blog went cold in September, but I am still here and still digesting the whole experience. There is a fire burning in my belly and one of the most effective ways I know how to temper it is to write about what is making me burn. This whole experience, e-max and otherwise, is what is stoking my fires. It's actually quite surreal. Just wait until I write about what I have been up to and learned since September...
Sweet EV dreams,
The E-Max Blog