Vectrix VX-2, the Background

What’s the deal with the Vectrix VX-2?

As far back as 2008 we saw reports of the VX-2.  Here’s a story in DealerNews.com, for example, back before the doors closed at Vectrix.   It was a simple deal, really, Vectrix, with a large, expensive scooter needed something to hit the market at the $5000 mark, the 50cc scooter class, to open up it’s base a bit. “In addition, for summer 2009, the company also plans to introduce an entry-level model called the Vx2. The Vx2 will be a smaller and more compact electric equivalent of a 50cc internal combustion engine (ICE) bike. The company expects to add additional power profiles to this product up to the electric equivalent of a 150cc ICE motorbike.”

Forward to mid-2009, and you have the massive layoff, and subsequent bankruptcy.  All bets are off.

Now…  February of 2010, we start to see rumblings of life.  Everybody’s chatting about how the battery giant that bought out Vectrix, Gold Peak Industries, intends to continue to make scooters to support the EV channel.  At the 2010 International Powersports Dealer Expo Vectrix announced their “relaunch”, but, at that point, had nothing but spare parts to ship to existing dealers and owners.  Although the press seemed to support the company, there was a great deal of skepticism…

In November we started getting some rumblings again, and with the January announcement and appearance at the February show, it seems that Vectrix is off and running with some real products.  They aren’t, however, particularly new products.  The VX-3, touted at the show, has been  bandied about for a few years now.  Then there’s the VX-2.

The only thing about the VX-2 that’s kind of funny is that, in mid-2009, if you look hard enough you’ll find reports of the Australian company VMoto entering into agreements to manufacture the VX-2.  Indeed…  from the VMoto Annual Report:

“On 24 June 2010, Vmoto announced it had signed an agreement to supply its VX2 model electric scooter to Vectrix Corporation (“Vectrix”), North America’s largest and most reputable electric scooter manufacturer and distributor. The initial order of 144 units is valued at over USD 500,000 and the first shipment is expected to take place in October 2010.”

Naturally, the forums were buzzing with claims that the VX-2 was just a repackaged emax 110-S.  Not only the forums, but a few sites too…  Hell for Leather, notably.  Well, I can’t really tell you the score back in 2009, but here’s the dish from Vectrix LLC about the 2011 VX-2:

“Regarding VMoto, Vectrix has contracted VMoto to manufacture the VX-2 using Vectrix core technology and components like the patented Vectrix Regenerative Throttle, Interface Control Module (ICM), Battery Management System (BMS), and Body Panels made by Vectrix and Vectrix-approved suppliers.”

So unless I’m mistaken, the VX-2 is manufactured by VMoto to Vectrix specs, using Vectrix technology- hardly a simple case of repackaging…

The specs on the two, however, are pretty much the same: top speed of 30mph, same battery chemistry and capacity, same voltage, same 4000W hub motor, like that.

Is this unusual?  Not in the least…  just take a good look at any vehicle manufacturer, and the byzantine manufacturing channels you see in, say Detroit, make this look like a dime novel.  Does it make sense?  From where I sit, completely.  Stick to the knitting, develop the technology, and have a manufacturer build it for you- at least at the outset of a company re-organization.  You do what you’re good at, and have others do what they’re good at, too.

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