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Nov. 29, 2010 – New parent company backs electric scooter OEM

November 29, 2010
Filed under Features

An electric vehicle company will enter the new year with a new product launch, new battery technology and a new parent company.

Actually the latter is only relatively new as the electric vehicle manufacturer, Vectrix, was purchased late in 2009. Gold Peak Industries, a public company based out of Hong Kong, purchased Vectrix after its founding company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the fall of 2009.

Gold Peak Industries, which had more than $770 million in revenue in its recent fiscal year, had been Vectrix’s original battery manufacturer.

“They felt the intellectual property portfolio that was developed by Vectrix was added value in terms of their core competencies and what they were looking at doing in the (electric vehicle) market,” Brian Buccella, vice president of sales and marketing for Vectrix, said of Gold Peak and its interest in acquiring Vectrix.

The company, which operates out of separate North American and European facilities, has spent the bulk of this year overcoming the obstacles of working as a new vehicle manufacturer, including finalizing state licensing agreements and establishing a new dealer network.

“Our service and dealer portals are back online supporting our clients and customers alike,” Buccella said. “In addition, we’ve developed better tools to service bikes.”

Developing new technology also has been at the forefront as Vectrix has launched its VX-2, a slimmer and smaller version than the brand’s initial product, the VX-1. The VX-2 scooter (MSRP: $4,295) has a 40-55 mile range and has a cruising speed of 30 mph.

Expected at the beginning of 2011, Vectrix will unveil its lithium battery technology, which will give its electric scooters further range.

“The focus in the market is to have a product that has more than a 100 mile range, so it’s a true commuter vehicle,” Buccella said. “We’ve achieved that with the development of the lithium batteries within the Vectrix product lines.”

Farther out — probably the second quarter of next year — Vectrix will bring a third product, its three-wheeled VX-3 to market. The three-wheeler — it has two wheels in the front, one in the back — will reach speeds surpassing 65 mph. It’s expected to have a range of 35-55 miles. MSRP will start at $12,500 for the three-wheeler. Both new models are expected to have Vectrix’s patented throttle technology, which allows riders to accelerate and slow down with a simple twist of the throttle.

To service those new consumers and dealers alike, Vectrix has opened a U.S. office in New Bedford, Mass., which currently employs about 28, Buccella said. That number doesn’t include its production workforce, which can add 15-20 more workers depending on the time of the year.

Vectrix also is doing business internationally, with a separate office in Poland and has signed importers in several countries, including in the Middle East and Asia.

Within North America, Vectrix has been setting up different tools to help drive retail sales, including developing leasing and consumer lending options, establishing a vehicle roadside assistance program for buyers and assisting dealers in securing fleet sales, the latter of which has made up the majority of electric vehicle sales in recent years.

Vectrix also is looking forward to a more stable future as the brand is now under an established parent company in Gold Peak Industries. The company, the world’s leading battery manufacturer according to its website, has facilities in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan and employs roughly 9,800 people.

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