Brammo scores Hong Kong government deal

Electric motorcycle maker Brammo says it has scored a deal to supply the Hong Kong government and police force with its electric motorcycles. Brammo says the Hong Kong government will replace its existing gas-powered motorcycles with Brammo’s Enertia (and see my test drive of the Enertia).

Electric Scooters, Bikes: The Surprising Energy Storage Players

Innovation in energy storage will revolutionize both the power grid and electric vehicles, but what will drive the market’s growth in the short term? According to a report out this morning from Lux Research: electric bikes and scooters.

Yep, those two-wheelers that look so fun to ride and are starting to be embraced in China. While car many companies, startups and investors are focused on battery technology for the next-generation of electric cars, Lux Research analyst Jacob Grose, says “e-bikes and scooters will drive the biggest growth for these batteries in the next five years.”

The total market for batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells for both transportation and the smart grid will grow from $21.4 billion in 2010 to $44.4 billion in 2015, says Lux. During that time electric bikes, or e-bikes, and scooter batteries will grow from being a $6.4 billion market in 2010 to a $10.9 billion market in 2015 (11 percent growth).

In China in the short term lead-acid battery technology will make up 93 percent of scooter and e-bike battery sales, says Lux. But lithium-ion battery technology for e-bikes will actually grow three times faster than lead acid, growing 22 percent through 2015, just from a much smaller base.

Perhaps the growth projections mean life will soon get better for the e-bike and electric scooter startups. Companies like Vectrix have struggled with profitability, but are now getting a helping hand from China’s battery firms.

The co-founder and CEO of electric vehicle maker Mission Motors, Forrest North, told us he thinks the market is now ripe for a higher-performance (and higher price tag) electric scooter technology.

Image courtesy of Mission Motors.

They’re Baaaaack: Vectrix Readies for Another Go at Electric Scooters

Vectrix, the electric scooter maker that shut down last year after more than a decade without a profit, is getting ready to rise from the grave of bankruptcy. China-based GP Batteries bought much of the startup’s assets after it filed for Chapter 11 protection last fall, and a new Vectrix team is now “in the process of reorganizing and relaunching the brand back into the space,” according to Chief Operating Officer Jason Kim.

Kim told us in an interview today that Vectrix, which will officially relaunch at an international dealer expo on Friday, has formed a “very light” management team and “secured the original engineering team” over the last month or so. Now the plan is to rebuild relationships with a network of uneasy dealers — helping them move remaining inventory of Vectrix’s high-end VX-1 scooters — and get cracking on new models and markets.
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Startup Mission Motors’ Electric Superbike Breaks Speed Record — Now What?

It might sound familiar: An ambitious startup sets out to build a high-performance electric two-wheel vehicle priced for the niche luxury market, hoping to establish its brand and business as it develops lower-end models for the mass market. Well, that’s the game plan for Mission Motors, which today announced a new speed record for electric motorcycles on the Bonneville Speedway track (150.059 MPH) with a prototype of its 2010 Mission One model.
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The speed might be record-breaking, but the strategy echoes the one employed by electric scooter maker Vectrix — until it hit the skids this year amid “very disappointing sales” for its 70 MPH, $11,000 scooter, “challenging market conditions” and 13 years in the biz without a profit. Mission Motors co-founder and CEO Forrest North, however, thinks the market is now ripe for his 16-person startup, based in San Francisco, to find success with the strategy using a significantly higher-performance technology and an even higher price tag: $68,000.
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Electric Scooter Maker Vectrix Shutting Down: Never Turned a Profit

In some industries, bankruptcies, shutdowns and pullouts have become so commonplace that we’ve had to start deathwatch lists just to keep track (see: coal, ethanol). Not so in the electric scooter sector, which has only begun to rev up at the starting line. But this week, startup Vectrix, one of the earliest movers in a market that has begun to attract big-name players (Honda, Piaggio), appears headed for bankruptcy.

vectrix

What happened? AutoblogGreen has posted a Vectrix press release (dated July 14) downloaded from the startup’s site before it shut down, and it paints the whole gloomy picture. Noting “challenging market conditions for some time as a result of the credit crunch and lack of consumer spending on bigger ticket retail purchases,” Vectrix says it has seen “very disappointing” sales and been unable to secure financing over the last several months. Read More about Electric Scooter Maker Vectrix Shutting Down: Never Turned a Profit