A year ago, the Vectrix electric scooter remained more of a concept than a reality.
Now the first 50 scooters are being assembled for delivery - with body panels molded by Webster Plastics Inc. in Fairport, N.Y. - to customers in Europe.
Owner Vectrix Corp. is setting up a dealer network in the United States. California already has gotten into the act, approving a $2,000 rebate on the high-end scooters.
As the company gears up for sales in Europe, it is also planning to scale-up full production in the United States, with hopes the thermoplastic-bodied machine will intrigue consumers.
``The biggest challenge now is getting ready to meet our needs here with our supplier base and knowing where our choke points are going to be,'' said Dana DeCosta, project manager for Vectrix, during the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Alliance of Plastics Processors' conference in Memphis April 1-3.
Vectrix, based in New Bedford, Mass., worked with a team of manufacturers and designers to bring the concept of a high-end, electric-powered scooter into the market. The bike is ready for sale in Europe and near the sale point in the United States. It will likely retail for about $11,000 in America, though the company hasn't published an official price yet.
It offers a ride of up to 60 mph for about 62 miles on an electric charge that is the equivalent of less than 50 cents of electrical power.
``This was a total collaboration,'' said Gary Deaton, manager of marketing and manufacturing for Minco Group of Dayton, Ohio, which built the tools and worked with Vectrix, Webster Plastics and designer RoBrady Designs of Sarasota, Fla. ``There were some very large parts that had to account for brackets and deal with sink marks. We had to find ways to hide the gates for aesthetics, and would talk to Vectrix and Webster and RoBrady to find the best solution.''
Even as the companies prepare for the North American launch of the scooter, they are looking at the next step for Vectrix. By September, the firm will have 20 prototypes of a three-wheel version ready to show in Milan, Italy.