Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

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jdh2550_1
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Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

When I get a round tuit I'll be posting all this stuff on the web. In the meantime for those that care here are a couple of recent media things we did:

1) A local filmmaker did a video about the A2 Mech Shop which is where CuMoCo's R&D is based. You can see me (well there has to be a downside) and a couple of shots of the bikes and technology (so there's something worth seeing): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrpYZJRw5AI&feature=player_embedded

2) I did another podcast with David Harrington over at http://www.justgottascoot.com - David's extremely knowledgeable about all things scooter related. I did a podcast with him last year that was a bit more general - this one's more specific about CuMoCo. The direct link to the podcast is: http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=233157&cmd=apop - but I recommend you check out David's site as well!

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

keep up the good work, you know if one of the big three were to invest in you that would help you out and them as well, it would give them access to a good idea for a change...cant wait to see it

MikeB
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

First, your url for justgottascoot.com has a typo, it's got htp: instead of http:

Second, good interview, though I have to admit I didn't really learn much new. I guess I've been paying too much attention already.

The certificate from the EPA is interesting, however. Is that the type of document that you could provide to customers? The State of Georgia provides a tax rebate for zero emission vehicles, it'd probably streamline the authorization process if an EPA certification was available for them to look at.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Hi Mike,

There will be a certification label on each bike - you should be able to take a photo of it. It will be alongside the VIN label so you'll be able to get both in the same shot. Do you think that would help?

When I get the actual paper certificate I might be able to make copies of that available as well.

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.

MikeB
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Yea, a certification label on the bike would probably help nicely. They approved my EVD last year, but I did send them a collection of documents to verify that it was an electric scooter. Anything to make it easier on the bureaucrats is a step forward.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

Mik
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

John, it seems you have a new problem: Vectrix have started a price war against you!

They are hitting US$5499.- Buy it Now on ebay!

And they offer them as prizes on GP battery packets somewhere, too!

They must be trying to kill the competition....

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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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

John, it seems you have a new problem: Vectrix have started a price war against you!

They are hitting US$5499.- Buy it Now on ebay!

And they offer them as prizes on GP battery packets somewhere, too!

They must be trying to kill the competition....

Hi Mik,

I'm not too worried. Our bike is quicker, lighter, goes further and has a proper per cell BMS. Oh yeah, and the president of the company is a lot more accessible...

Bring it on!

;-)

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.

Mik
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Our bike is quicker,
;-)

How do you define quicker?

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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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Our bike is quicker,
;-)

How do you define quicker?

A top speed of greater than 62 mph. Quite a bit greater.

;-)

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.

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Greetings John,

Thank you for sharing the interesting video with us.You guy's really look like you're having fun!!

Allow me to be the first, of I'm sure many more, to congratulate you! It's always exciting and encouraging to witness the enthusiasm of such enterprise and pioneering spirit as you guy's are showing in Ann Arbour, Michigan. Michigan eh,? It must be something in the heritage, that makes Michigan so engineering minded! (Maybe you could lure Mik from the sunshine of Australia's fabulous Queensland beeches to Michigan. Hmmm.. but then again, you'd certainly have to improve the beer!)

I'm sure everyone would appreciate if you could keep us informed of the future plans and directions you intend pursuing with your EV? You must be aware of the pitfalls and tribulations experienced by the Vectrix attempt to mass-manufacture and market such an EV, at an acceptable price. Not all of vectrix problems were just bad management, the business model and product also contained inherent flaws from the beginning.

I fear you will face a very sceptical public/consumer evaluation of every aspect of your ability to deliver and sustain a product that can really meet expectations without needing a leap of faith. Now that comment may offend some of the green left dreamers, but once step outside of the idealistic hobbyist/engineer cocoon, the realities of the harsh world of capitalist business will confront you!

Contrary to most hobbyist beliefs, the long term survival of companies/manufactures depends on the acceptance and critical appraisal of the customer base. That is how it should be, it doesn't matter how worthy a product, or how righteous, in a mass-consumer democracy, the majority prevail! (it's their money, if they spend wisely, foolishly, selfishly,nobly,good taste or bad, sustainable or not, is still their money and their wishes must be respected when it comes to selling a product,any marketer/manufacturer must ignore this lesson at their peril! )

So, without wishing to dampen or discourage your enthusiasm in anyway, are you prepared for the long process of providing information and reassurance, courteously, to even the most pedantic,ignorant,and biased of critic's?

Or do you, probably wisely, intend to stay one of a growing band of small bespoke manufacturers, producing a low volume of machines to the converted few? This is not such a bad thing, as the very successful Morgan Cars of the UK, will tell you!!

Good Luck, I'll follow your progress with interest.

marcopolo

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Thanks marcopolo.

We're operating an extremely low overhead operation precisely because we know that the "tipping point" isn't here yet. However, the US market is only just waking up to the scooter as a viable means of transportation - as more folks enter the world of scooters we have an expanding market and hence expanding opportunity.

Of course the wild card in the mix is the price of gasoline. It's currently at around $2.60 per gallon, compared with over $4 per gallon a year ago. It's creeping back up. When (not if!) we get back up to $4 per gallon I expect to see the scooter market be red-hot again (you couldn't buy a scooter for love nor money last year - they were all sold out). With an operating cost advantage compare to gas and with increased convenience and potential government incentives our scooters begin to look very attractive against gas competitors.

Personally I think we'll see $4 per gallon in 2010.

I can think of several things that I think Vectrix have done wrong and we plan on doing differently. The trouble is if I lay them out there I might as well publish our business plan (which my colleagues tell me is a bad idea!)

By definition we will start off as a low-volume manufacturer (in the US low volume is defined by DOT as <500 units per year). I expect we will grow beyond that within three years (or sooner). If we can do those volumes consistently then we can simply bide our time (and expand our product line) until the market is EV ready. Ironically we're still waiting for the time that a major auto manufacturer makes a "real" commitment to electric - because then they will throw their marketing muscle to win the hearts and minds of the consumer. At the moment they're still schizophrenic in their approach - perhaps they always will be.

Time will tell - and if it just doesn't happen then as long as I don't loose my shirt I'll be happy to have tried...

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.

Mik
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)
John, it seems you have a new problem: Vectrix have started a price war against you!

They are hitting US$5499.- Buy it Now on ebay!

And they offer them as prizes on GP battery packets somewhere, too!

They must be trying to kill the competition....

Hi Mik,

I'm not too worried. Our bike is quicker, lighter, goes further and has a proper per cell BMS. Oh yeah, and the president of the company is a lot more accessible...

Bring it on!

;-)

OK, you brought them to their knees by the looks of it, they have given up, thrown in the towel.

But have you built a scooter yet? Other than the red demo?

Have you sold one yet?

Why is there still a "Reserve one now" button instead of a "Buy one now" button on your website?

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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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

But have you built a scooter yet? Other than the red demo?

Yes, we've built a blue demo too! You didn't watch the video, did you? ;-)

Have you sold one yet?
Why is there still a "Reserve one now" button instead of a "Buy one now" button on your website?

Yes, we have pre-orders and we're building those bikes as I type this. We had a delay because of the interactions between the BMS and the charger - but we've addressed that. Trouble is it required a different charger so that's delayed us by about 3 to 4 weeks. (All our pre-order folks got this info a week or so ago).

Target now is to deliver by middle of August.

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.

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

BTW - I bought a VX-1 today on ebay. I need to get it shipped from FL to MI. Then we plan to instrument it, ride it, put it on the dyno and take it apart. Looking forward to that!

EDIT: Proof of a blue bike just for Mik... ;-)

blue-with-rider.jpg

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.

MikeB
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

How about some pics of bikes being built?

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

__Tango
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

John, I'm eagerly awaiting more info.

You guys already have a special place in my heart, i've had family in A2 since before i was born and went to school at umich (plus spent a couple of years hanging around town trying not to get a real job).

I'm just getting into the electric scooter game (i was waiting for a car, but decided it was way too far off to be practical, and for my needs for now a scooter is fine). I just picked up a used Zapino, but i'm betting at some point soon, i'll want/need to check out a faster vehicle.

My question for you now is, what are you doing for out of state sales and service? i'm in California now, so heading out to the west side of town is a little harder for me now. :)

Good Luck!

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

How about some pics of bikes being built?

Will do.

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.

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

My question for you now is, what are you doing for out of state sales and service?

The sales process is initially via the web. $100 deposit at time of order. 50% due when the bike is one month from delivery. Balance due when the bike is completed and ready to ship. Shipping cost is still TBD - we're working with a national carrier and negotiating the best shipping rate we can get. For folks that pre-order now we take $100 deposit and then the full balance when the bike is completed and ready to ship. Our bikes will be delivered to the customers' door (with lift-gate service) completely ready to ride. They will be fully assembled and packed by strapping it to a pallet with ratcheting tie-downs - thus making it EASY to get it out of the packaging. The batteries will already be conditioned - just get on and ride. The MCO (manufacturer's certificate of origing) and sales receipt will be sent to the customer as soon as the bike leaves the factory - that way it will be in hand to be able to register and plate the bike immediately.

For service the bikes come with an owner's manual that covers the basics (bulb changes, what each part of the bike does, simple troubleshooting etc.). Also, available on line to registered customers, will be a full technical service manual. For those that wish to do the work themselves they'll have access to us at the factory via phone. For those that want someone else to do the work we'll help them locate a scooter mechanic and that mechanic will have access to us at the factory via phone.

For parts (both warranty and non-warranty) we will ship either to the customer - or at the customer's request to a mechanic. In some cases we will enclose a pre-paid shipping label for the customer to return the defective part to us.

For those that buy bikes locally at our dealership we will perform warranty work for free. For those folks that buy bikes remote the warranty will be for parts only (remember that most work will be easily achievable by the owner). Over time we wish to build up a dealer network and we will encourage folks to buy from dealers - not directly.

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.

MikeB
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Just a thought here: Many people are going to want to see the bike in person before they buy, and get a test ride if possible. Until you have a dealer network, most people are going to have to miss this step.

I'd suggest you keep a list of owners who are willing to show their bike to potential buyers. If a customer showing results in a sale, you give the existing customer some sort of credit. I'm not sure what the credit would be exchanged for, maybe you give the customer a free trunk or other accessory, or even just a hat/t-shirt.

You could also keep another list for owners who will help other owners in their area with service issues. We get alot of that type of thing happening in these forums, but sometimes it's better to have someone in person who can point to the right body panels to remove, etc.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Just a thought here: Many people are going to want to see the bike in person before they buy, and get a test ride if possible. Until you have a dealer network, most people are going to have to miss this step.

I'd suggest you keep a list of owners who are willing to show their bike to potential buyers. If a customer showing results in a sale, you give the existing customer some sort of credit. I'm not sure what the credit would be exchanged for, maybe you give the customer a free trunk or other accessory, or even just a hat/t-shirt.

You could also keep another list for owners who will help other owners in their area with service issues. We get alot of that type of thing happening in these forums, but sometimes it's better to have someone in person who can point to the right body panels to remove, etc.

Yup we're already considering the list of owners willing to show their bikes and we were going to reward folks with cold hard cash. Watch this space...

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.

knabo
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

One thing I can say for sure, what really sets a company apart is the quality of their support to the customers.

Early adopters are a special breed, we take a risk (Vectrix anyone?) and we do expect a high level of support from the company we choose to purchase from. This becomes even more critical when that company is not in your immediate area. We have all grown accustomed to doing business on the internet, but we also like to see a face when something goes wrong.

With my Vectrix I had the worst service. It had nothing to do with Vectrix really, but the shop was just poor. When I first brought the bike in they did not fix the items I pointed out to them. When the bike was finally ready it was not fully charged (huge mistake for EV service)

In my search so far:
Brammo - no response in over 2 weeks to an email through their site
Zero - no response in a week to a demo ride request through their site
EMS - no response to emails this year

I know you are all seeing a pattern, but its not me! These are not stalker emails, these are just standard inquires put though the company websites. At least I don't think it's me.

Anyway, Kudos to John for being part of the community, He is rising up on my list.

Luther Burrell, Mesa, Arizona, USA
Rides: ZuumCraft from zuumcraft.com
Previous Rides: Blue Vectrix Maxi scooter

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)
How about some pics of bikes being built?

Will do.

As promised - here are some pics:

bikes_in_boxes.jpg
Bikes in boxes in our factory (in the US not China)

bike_unpacked.jpg
One bike unpacked

work1.jpg
A couple of bikes on stands - undergoing mechanical upgrades

work2.jpg
Dave working on a bike - look pretty sparks!

work3.jpg
Bill building battery boxes - beautiful! (say that five times quickly)

new_dash.jpg
New dash layout

colors.jpg
All the pretty colors we have available

cell_conditioning.jpg
Cell conditioning workstation - during 1/3rd C discharge on 40Ah cells (we're working on a fully automated conditioning system)

bms1.jpg
BMS test station

bms2.jpg
Close up of BMS board

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.

knabo
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

The tech in me was drooling a little bit...

Luther Burrell, Mesa, Arizona, USA
Rides: ZuumCraft from zuumcraft.com
Previous Rides: Blue Vectrix Maxi scooter

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

The tech in me was drooling a little bit...

Hmmm - that's not such an attractive thought! ;-)

BTW - our local news paper just shut down and a new online replacement was launched today. Guess who's in the inaugural edition?

http://www.annarbor.com/business-review/current-motors---to-come/

(I even gave a shout out to this forum...)

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.

MikeB
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

I know John is hurting this morning, I got an email about another delay in the first round of production bikes.

On the good side, CuMoCo is apparently testing their production parts to make sure they provide the level of performance they designed for. Apparently the hub motors they'd ordered weren't performing as expected, so we have a delay.

This is exactly the type of Quality Assurance that is missing from many of the Chinese import companies, and makes me extra glad to have placed an order with CuMoCo. I'm sure there are some companies that would have shipped out bikes with sub-par performance, and then quietly replaced the motors for customers who noticed the difference and complained. CuMoCo both detected the problem and took the hit on shipping dates to resolve the problem.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Thanks for your patience and understanding Mike - we really appreciate it. We're working on solutions here. At least in GA the riding season is longer...

The wait WILL be worth it.

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: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Hey John
Top job! I like to see open and honest communication and a willingness to talk to (potential) customers.
When do you start shipping to Australia ;)

Are they Thundersky cells I see in your photos?

Paul

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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, we use TS cells - with a BMS they perform well within our needs and are a cost-effective choice.

As for shipping to Australia - well, do you want to undertake the certification process for us? ;-)

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.

Mik
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, we use TS cells - with a BMS they perform well within our needs and are a cost-effective choice.

As for shipping to Australia - well, do you want to undertake the certification process for us? ;-)

How much drama would this certification process involve? I've never done such a thing yet, but maybe I'll have to to get some decent EV into Australia!

The problem is, that it is apparently expensive to get full licensing/certification for a vehicle. It might be cheaper for a single vehicle import. I'll have to look into that one day...

How is the scooter coming along?

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

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

jdh2550_1
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Re: Current Motor News (and brief video of the bike)

How much drama would this certification process involve? I've never done such a thing yet, but maybe I'll have to to get some decent EV into Australia!

I'm afraid I've no idea. There was someone on here a long time ago that was looking at importing EFunD's into Australia.

How is the scooter coming along?

We're on the home stretch now. We hope to be delivering by the end of this month. We had a few curve balls thrown at us which pushed things back a little bit.

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.

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