Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

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Mik
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Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Could a trust fund (or some other legal entity) buy Vectrix assets on behalf of the rest of the world?

Could the Vectrix VX-1 owners, together with other people who are supportive of the cause, raise sufficient funds to outbid competitors, if and when Vectrix intellectual property (IP) rights are for sale?

Could the financial contributors to the trust fund agree that they will hold no individual rights whatsoever as a result of a successful appropriation of Vectrix IP rights, but that these rights would instead be released into the public domain for use by any interested party?

If this sort of arrangement was made exclusively for purchasing IP, then no ongoing costs or legal proceedings should ever be needed.
Acquisition of hardware, like spare parts and factories, is a totally different kettle of fish and is not part of this proposition.

After acquisition of the Vectrix IP asset(s) by the trust fund, they would simple be released for download on the internet and/or emailed to all financial contributors, with full rights to further distribute them and/or use them. Any leftover money could be donated for some good cause and the fund would then cease to exist.

EV forums and websites would then be able to legally store and display very useful information which would serve a number of purposes:

- enable the maintenance, repair and upgrade of the existing Vectrix VX-1 scooters.

- enable other engineers, manufacturers, inventors and tinkerers of the world to learn as much as possible from the Vectrix technology.
.

But the positive effects would not be limited to Vectrix VX-1 owners:

This might also ease anxieties and reduce hurdles for future EV’s, because buyers might be less reluctant to part from their dollars if they believe that they will not be left out in the cold if the company goes bust.

And it would help to pay back the largest possible amount of money to the burnt investors of Vectrix Corp. This might help the next EV Company attempting an IPO (Initial Public Offer).
.
.

The most useful pieces of IP to buy might be these:

Scooter Diagnostics Software
All past and present firmware for Motor Controller, Charger, ICM and Instrument Cluster.
Source code and documentation for the charger, motor controller, ICM and instrument cluster software.
CANBUS documentation.
Other diagnostic software.
Detailed repair annd service manuals.
Patents (also to be released into the public domain, of course)
Plans and software for BMS, other battery technologies and fuel cell upgrade.
.
.

Unfortunately I have no expertise in running such an operation, as you can probably tell from the likely incorrect use of terms in this proposal.

Someone with better knowledge than me might be able to re-write the proposal in more appropriate terms.

Alternatively, just tell me what a hare-brained and impossible proposal it is!

I would not be willing to be deeply involved with this proposed fund, but I would put in at least AU$200.- .

If every Vectrix owner did the same, that would equate to a buying power in the order of $500,000.- . I do not know if this amount would even be in the right order of magnitude, or if the IP would be for sale without the rest of the hardware and the debt and obligations.

marcopolo
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Mik, as usual you have proposed an exceedingly practical and very selfless idea. Along with the product the 'Trust' could purchase the name and right to spare part manufacture. It could then licence the production of vectrix spares to some aspiring manufacturer, like John. This would provide an ongoing income to prove for, well say an educational trust or similar to further research into EV development or Educational publicity to further acceptance, or maybe a Vectrix museum!

The only thing is, such a Trust would need in excess of $US2 million dollars , (about $US750 per owner), as I very much doubt that anyone would be interested in the hardware and stock, without the IP.

If correctly formed, contributions to such a 'Trust' would be tax deductible and even eligible for various government contributions!

Good thinking, Mik, your handbook alone should prove to be an excellent fund raiser. And judging from the level of enthusiasm from some posters to this site, fund-raising should be easy. Put me down for 17 x $US 1000!

marcopolo

AndY1
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I wouldn't mind parting with a 500 EUR for a good cause.

RaDy
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

If it becomes Real, i would contribute with 500€.

Elektro
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I would be very happy to spend a few hundred euros for it, but who can manage this case and where ( Australia, Spain, Italy and so on ) ? to whom we should send this money and what guarantee do we have that this money will be managed in the right way ?

Elektro
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Hi Nik
I very like your idea!
I post on energeticambiente italian forum the link to your idea and a short translation in Italian. In the next week I have a meeting with association for the protection of consumers regardin the Vectrix warranty, here in MIlan, and if have nothing contrary i'd like also discuss with the legal consulting about your proposal.

jdh2550_1
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I'd participate as a paying member.

However, I think you need to consider that you'd be lucky to get 10% to 20% of Vectrix owners to participate. This would further increase the price per participating Vectrix owner.

Another approach would be to figure out how to raise the $2M and still fulfill the goals of open sourcing the IP. I believe a company could still make a reasonable return on investment even with open sourced IP.

I'd nominate marcopolo to figure out how to make it work :-)

I'd nominate my company to warehouse and distribute parts (if we went there) in the US, and possibly worldwide if no other entity steps forward. If we did this we'd want to at least break even (and that would mean covering the handling and storage costs) - a small profit would also seem appropriate.

Making a profit and having open source IP don't seem mutually exclusive to me. Especially if we were to seek small investments from interested parties (mostly, but not exclusively, VX owners). The big hitters won't want to play unless they can lock up the IP and we don't want that at any cost.

Great idea Mik. Marco - tell us how we can make it work! :-)

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

turok
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

count me in!

"doing nothin = doing nothing wrong" is invalid when the subject is environment

Victrix
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I'd contribute anywhere from US$200 to US$750. In for a penny, in for a pound!

volts76
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Count me in.

Mik
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Mik, as usual you have proposed an exceedingly practical and very selfless idea.

Thank you, but it is not as selfless as it might seem! No spare planet and spaceship to get away from here for starters, and then there is the fun and excitement of riding and fixing this scooter. Beats wearing socks and sandals, which is kind of strictly forbidden in Australia... ;-)

Along with the product the 'Trust' could purchase the name and right to spare part manufacture. It could then licence the production of vectrix spares to some aspiring manufacturer, like John. This would provide an ongoing income to prove for, well say an educational trust or similar to further research into EV development or Educational publicity to further acceptance, or maybe a Vectrix museum!

The only thing is, such a Trust would need in excess of $US2 million dollars , (about $US750 per owner), as I very much doubt that anyone would be interested in the hardware and stock, without the IP.

To also own/manage the spare parts makes it more complex than I like. But it might be necessary.
If the IP was to be be turned into some sort of "open source", then the spare parts might be worth a lot more than otherwise.
If I had the money to buy all the spares, I would be happy to say to buyers: "Yes, we have the part in stock, it is physically in perfect condition, you need to get someone to install it and to install the appropriate (free)firmware."
Compare that to the nightmare of trying to not just sell the parts, but to support the installation and troubleshooting around the world! It would be too expensive, like it was for Vectrix Corp, too dangerous, and the new parts would not sell very well. That's because there would be many "dead", or rather comatose VX-1 scooters in need of unavailable software fixes, battery upgrades etc which would then serve as donor bikes in a cannibalistic fashion. You could not sell new parts in this environment, there would be too many used parts available!

It's a win-win-win situation!

If the IP was bought by an entity more financially potent than the proposed fund, and was then locked up somehow, without allowing any reasonable access to servicing and repairs on a world wide basis, they might not be able to enforce their rights.
Because the software is widely distributed already (to the dealers and service agents) it might prove difficult for the new owners to enforce their IP rights. I am not suggesting anyone should do this, it would be illegal, but I think it would be unwise for a buyer to assume that the dschini will remain in the bottle for long.
No-one in their right mind would advise a company to buy a failing music record, or software, or movie industry business, based on a business model that assumes zero software piracy will occur. It's a simple fact of life in the internet age.

Even if some entity buys the lot, IP and hardware, they might be better off releasing the IP for public use because it would increase the prospects for selling the spare parts for good prices, as explained above.

If correctly formed, contributions to such a 'Trust' would be tax deductible and even eligible for various government contributions!

That's why I cannot be the one to set it up; I work slowly and methodically, and there is realistically not enough time for me to acquire the needed skills in time. I'd stuff it up!

Good thinking, Mik, your handbook alone should prove to be an excellent fund raiser. And judging from the level of enthusiasm from some posters to this site, fund-raising should be easy. Put me down for 17 x $US 1000!

That would be nice if the work would pay off in such a quick and unexpected way! Anyone who contributes will be allowed to read the handbook twice!!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

marcopolo
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Inspired by your brilliant concept, and disappointed with only 10 responses so far, ( I am pleased to see RaDy among the first! Well done, way to go! Great to have your support), I decided to see if I could obtain a mailing list of Vectrix owners to canvas greater support.

I received the following responses:

Vectrix USA. = Not interested in any scheme, but may be prepared to sell the mailing list!!
Vectrix UK = No-one authorised
Vectrix Poland = Will try to assist be back in a few days. Offered to seek European support.
Vectrix Europe (various) = No reply.
Vectrix Australia = Forbidden by privacy laws to divulge owners, but if we supply details, VA will write to owners with on our behalf and forward replies directly. VA very supportive and complimented Mik's initiative. Offered Financial assistance.

I found the various levels of response interesting. To be fair, the various European Vectrix distributors, paticularly Italy, may no longer exist, or like UK be in the process of disolusion. VCorp US were very coy about a list of owners, informing me that owners details are a matter for the distributors. I asked how then was it possible to buy such a mailing list, at which time communication ceased!

What all this means, I am not sure, but having such a list would have made convassing support among Vectrix oners that much easier. I believe a central registry of Vectrix owners exists, as all distributors filed names and VN numbers with Vcorp USA. I realise such a list wouldn't cover owners who purchased bikes second hand, but there can't be too many of those.

I will keep you posted on developments.

marcopolo

sparker
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Add another owner. Put me in for £500, I'd love to see this happen and be a part of it.

qmprius
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I can participate also.
Regards.

RaDy
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Marcopolo, i believe in Vectrix, even if they dissapear, they have succeeded in making, the few people around the world that have had the guts to buy one, get addicted to driving on electricity. From now on after the Vectrix, as i said, i will only look for an EV, and i can assure you that i have plenty of ICE experience and ownership.
If i had to choose a Company for Vectrix, i would choose Tesla, as someone said before in this forum, Vectrix is the Tesla of two wheels, wouldnt Elon Musk be interested? Why doesnt someone call him and ask him. Imagine the showrooms with the Tesla Roadster and the Vectrix VX-1 then Telsa´s Sedan and the Vectrix Superbike could join them, it would be like selling Porsche 911's and BMW Maxsiscooters, i might even be intrested in setting up a Dealer in Barcelona, i really hope Vectrix survives and if i have to contribute for it to do so, i will. If it doesnt survive i would still contribute with funds to find solutions to try keeping the bikes running.
Thanks to you also for involving yourself in this possible project, when i am sure you have more important things to do than trying to make this Vectrix Survival Dream come true. But remember, as i said before, many things start off being a dream.

antwilkinson
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Count me in as well. I think it's in every vectrix owners interest to join this effort, it's probably the only chance of keeping our bikes on the road, with an active community looking to maintain and improve them. Imagine 20, 50 or 100 Mik's out there all collaborating for the common good. I'm defiantly in.

jmap
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Count with me but I doubt that a huge sum could be achieved this way.

pyjohnson
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

And another owner appears from the wood work, I would be interested

Regards,
Peter

-----------------------------------------------------------
Central Scotland

marylandbob
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I am in Maryland, USA-near Washington, D.C. and I would be interested in participating in a plan to keep the VECTRIX alive!
I have electronics and mechanical skills, and own a 2008 VX-1, and a 1994 Honda Goldwing motorcycle. I could fund at least $500.00 U.S.-Robert M. Curry

Robert M. Curry

marcopolo
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

RaDy, Your post is a real inspiration. Thank you for your contribution. Your logic is impeccable. I believe your commitment is very sincere, I too, just love the idea of traveling on electrons! Unfortunately, Tesla have their own problems,and are unlikely to be interested or they would have entered into the bidding, along side the other contenders.

No, it is up to us, my friend, to keep the flame alive!

The best hope would be to secure the technology and forge an alliance with a major manufacturer, my preference is Korean, with a world wide net work of service outlets.

This may not be the purists option, but the consumer wants service!

I have had no response from Vectrix Spain, so do you think you could obtain a list of Vectrix owners in Spain, one of the most successful areas for Vectrix?

What was it the poet said ? ah yes ,
One man with a dream at leisure
Can go out and conquer a crown
But three with a new song's measure
Can crumble an empire down.

Well, maybe not that revolutionary, but certainly possible!

marcopolo

toolbox
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

This is an interesting idea,and its encouraging to see a commitment out there! How ever with a rare idle moment,i thought i too would scope a scenario! Possibly Vectrix is currently very focussed on a long term funding solution for the business.possibly the full details of all persons who have purchased a bike

toolbox

ElectricLou
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

As an owner of a 2008 VX-1 and a 1980 CommutaCar, how can I not be interested in participating? I have been an electronics technician for over 30 years and knew the Vectrix company may fail when I purchased mine a month ago. I was not too concerned because many of us (like Mik and others) can reverse engineer and find ways to keep our bikes in order. But the Vectrix has many custom made parts that would be in our best interest to procure.

I do not know why the Vectrix service software is such a big deal. I own OBD 1 and 2 scanners and can plug into any automobile and download diagnostic information. How would independent automotive garages feel about a vehicle in their service garage that they could not diagnose? Is this not why OBD was created, so anyone with a scan tool can service their vehicle? Heck, I own a jet-ski and even it uses standard OBD diagnostic codes. I do not know why this Vectrix software is so special and why we are not allowed to have it. We purchased the bikes, why can't we have the "means" to service the product we paid for? Dealers have told me they signed some type of agreement they are not allowed to release the software to the general public. I feel now that vectrix has folded we should be entitled to the software to maintain the equipment we paid for.

I am not a lawyer and know nothing about legal procedure. But I suspect some type of class action lawsuit by Vectrix owners would be in order if we have no means to service our bikes. Since most of us still have a warranty, (at least on paper) I feel we should be entitled to something from Vectrix. Whether it be access to service manuals, software, parts, whatever. If and when Vectrix is dissolved, I feel us Vectrix owners should have our hand out as well.

jmap
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I feel now that vectrix has folded we should be entitled to the software to maintain the equipment we paid for

At the least... I completely agree.

The Laird
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Hi Folks,

Count me in too. Up to £500-00p, but it must be Open Source.

Good luck with this one.

Bye the way, what is the legal position? I have a copy of the Vectrix Manual and Parts list (well, most of it anyway). What is the big secret? Any decent engineer could produce a manual for the bike, why are manufacturers so secretive / reluctant to provide users/purchasers with manuals? I also have the Diagnostic software. Again, why the secrecy? This drive train is not particularly unusual.
It has always been my contention that if you purchase a product you should have the right to possess all of the information required to keep that product in good condition. That is the way it used to be, why the big change to secrecy?

evDreamer
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I'm not a Vectrix owner due to my wife's belief that riding a motorcycle in Los Angeles is too dangerous, but I'm inspired by this idea and everyone's responses that I'll also contribute $200 USD. I can also contribute my time/expertise if needed.

marcopolo
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

"I suspect some type of class action lawsuit by Vectrix owners would be in order if we have no means to service our bikes. Since most of us still have a warranty, (at least on paper) I feel we should be entitled to something from Vectrix. Whether it be access to service manuals, software, parts, whatever. If and when Vectrix is dissolved, I feel us Vectrix owners should have our hand out as well." [/quote]

The trouble is, who would you sue? If the company is defunct, and the IP would belong to whoever bought the assets, but the service obligations simply die with the company. You may have an excellent claim but no-one to claim against! Also you will need to guarantee a supply of spare parts, and items that can not be readily sourced elsewhere, including IP updates. You could sue the directors, but this is a hugely difficult and expensive proposition, not really practical and if undertaken as a class action probably could cost more than Mik's rescue fund, for dubious return.

marcopolo

myocardia
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I can also contribute my time/expertise if needed.

Great, are you offering legal expertise, or acquisition expertise, or both?;-)

Mik, I think this is an awesome idea, but as a non-owner, I can't help but wonder if maybe it wouldn't be an easier, and cheaper, proposition to just "ditch" the controllers and hub motors when either wear out, and replace them with standardized parts (for instance, non hub motors) that are less complicated/expensive. Do you think it would be too difficult for the average owner to find and/or modify parts to fit? Just a thought...

jdh2550_1
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

I can't help but wonder if maybe it wouldn't be an easier, and cheaper, proposition to just "ditch" the controllers and hub motors when either wear out, and replace them with standardized parts (for instance, non hub motors) that are less complicated/expensive. Do you think it would be too difficult for the average owner to find and/or modify parts to fit? Just a thought...

AFAIK, it would be quite an engineering effort to replace any single part.

BTW, it's not a hub motor (with stator on the inside and located in the rear hub) it's a normal motor (stator on the outside) that's mounted in the swingarm. The rear wheel contains a fixed ratio planetary gearbox. So, as an example, to change the motor you'd have to find something to fit in that hole and mate to the gearbox. Not sure you'd be able to run a chain/belt drive without major modification. Then you'd have to run an AC motor - or change the controller. And to change the controller is a major PITA because the motor controller is integrated with the bike controller.

Batteries can't be replaced without replacing the charger. Charger likely can't be replaced without changing the controller.

It's all tightly coupled. Tight coupling is great when everything works as planned (and the company doesn't go bust) - but if things don't work (or the company goes bust) it becomes a nightmare.

If I were to do an "open source" Vectrix then from an open perspective and trying to make it as flexible as possible I'd probably keep the motor and gearbox and replace everything else in one fell swoop. That's a big job though. Even better would be to replace the motor with a brushless or brushed DC motor - there are more and cheaper controller options for DC than AC (never really understood why - but that seems to be the case).

The other approach is to keep the system as is and use up all the spares and try and make new spares.

Just my 2 cents worth.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

Paul
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

Count me in
The Vectrix Corp has failed through greed and hurbis.
So the Vectrix owner's community must help itself through goodwill and open communication.

Paul

RaDy
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

No, it is up to us, my friend, to keep the flame alive!

The best hope would be to secure the technology and forge an alliance with a major manufacturer, my preference is Korean, with a world wide net work of service outlets.

I have had no response from Vectrix Spain, so do you think you could obtain a list of Vectrix owners in Spain, one of the most successful areas for Vectrix?

About keeping the flame alive, if nothing comes out for Vectrix in the next few weeks, we will have to find a solution.
One, could be to rasie some funds periodically (every month or every 2 months) for qualified people to be able to do some research and find solutions to main problems of the Vectrix. For example Battery reparations, Changing Fuses, extra parts etc.. etc.., those who really find solutions spending their time, should be somehow rewarded and i think that if each of us contributes with some amount like 20€ a month or so, we could make people or a company be intrested.

About obtaining a list of Vectrix owners in Spain, it will be easy for me to get Barcelona Vectrix owners, as for the rest of Spain, i will try to get some information. Spain has been a good market for Vectrix, but you have to keep in account that many have been sold to police departments,Car Rental companies, etc.. etc.. private owners must be in the same scale as other countries.

Mik
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Re: Proposition for a Vectrix Rescue Fund

About keeping the flame alive, if nothing comes out for Vectrix in the next few weeks, we will have to find a solution.
One, could be to rasie some funds periodically (every month or every 2 months) for qualified people to be able to do some research and find solutions to main problems of the Vectrix. For example Battery reparations, Changing Fuses, extra parts etc.. etc.., those who really find solutions spending their time, should be somehow rewarded and i think that if each of us contributes with some amount like 20€ a month or so, we could make people or a company be intrested.

Such people need to be able to legally use and improve the software and firmware. They would otherwise risk to be sued for amounts much larger than anything you could collect from the owners on a recurrent basis.

It's not going to fly without a legal basis, at least not with me, it's not that important!

There is a lot of goodwill to keep this bike going, probably even to bring it into the sort of state it could have been in without the cost-cutting shortcuts taken due to the imperative to maximize shareholder profits.

What if the opposite of the frequently repeated credo was true: Rather than being too complex, the Vectrix VX-1 might simply not be complex enough! What if important parts, like a proper BMS, have been omitted due to managerial cost cutting, rather than engineering decisions? What if it was not "outdated" due it's NiMH battery technology, but rather forced to be marketed a bit too early, a bit too cheaply, before the bugs were sufficiently ironed out?

What if the design is not prohibiting the use of third party products at all, like often claimed?
Take the charger as an example: It can be plugged in around the world, just change the plug. It is fully programmable, can charge anything from lead-acid, to Nickel based chemistries, Lithium based chemistries and probably even not-yet-invented battery types! Show me another EV that can do this!
Fuel cell integration? Bluetooth connectivity? All practically ready to go!

With full disclosure of the software, source codes and schematics, this scooter will remain the top product for a long time to come!

Has anyone noticed how eminently repairable the VX1 really is?

Just think about it:
I'm not even an engineer, and this is my first EV, and I have managed to install a cable harness that would allow 20A balancing currents to be shuffled between cells if a suitable BMS was installed. The scooter keeps going and is now one of the few VX-1's which got more than 10000km on their first battery. And it is hot where I live, and they were a tough 10000km at high speed on rough roads!
For less than $100,- I managed to build an auxiliary battery cooling device which solves 90% of the battery problems by equalizing the cell temperatures.
I've tapped into temp sensor cables and hall sensors, learned how to measure the battery temperatures, current draw, cell voltages, and how to install a much better headlight, and hazard lights.

The Vectux keeps running, unperturbed by the many changes.

I know of people who have driven their VX1 with just one planetary gear in place instead of three, it did not break. Siai47 has machined improved replacement parts for the gearbox. A variety of lubricants have been tried in the gearbox, and no problems reported so far with anything from 100% additive, or 100% Castor oil, to 100% synthetic mixes of various types, including the EV1 gearbox oil!

The CANBUS follows standards and is easily tapped into. I managed to identify current draw, voltage, speed, trip meter, time, throttle position, temp sensors and several others without any prior CANBUS or significant programming experience, without using any proprietary software or data sheets!

Imagine what people with proper training and information could do!

The VX1 is complex, but not gratuitously complex like some would have you believe. Whilst at first it might appear as if it is hard to repair, this is simply not true!

With diagrams, software and source codes legally accessible, the VX1 would be eminently repairable! Most components used are of high quality, none of the labeling has been deliberately removed from electronic components, nothing has been potted just to conceal how it works, all cables are ID-stamped with clear identifier codes.

The fact that Vectrix Corp seemed to only exchange parts does not mean that they are not repairable!

It'll be a piece of cake to repair a VX1 once it has been made legally possible for people to work on it with the proper tools and information.

The right people can train themselves and each other to service these scooters, but it would be too expensive for a company to try to train up a workforce large enough to start fixing the 2000 or so VX1s out there.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

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