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GM product development guru Bob Lutz has become particularly enamored of electric drive vehicles recently. As one of the major internal corporate sponsors of the Chevy Volt within GM, Lutz has been even more vocal than usual for the past year about the E-Flex program. Unfortunately even though Lutz has been one of the few to drive the Volt mule or Mali-Volt, it's still a good 30 months (at least) away from Job 1. While biding his time and pushing the Volt engineering team along, he is adding other battery powered vehicles to his collection.

Lutz's latest toy is a new Vectrix electric scooter. The Vectrix launched last fall and according to company treasurer John Schnorr they have built about 2,000 scooters so far and sold about half of the those. While the bike was lauded at launch for stylish looks and decent performance, the original $11,000 price tag was deemed a bit to steep. Vectrix recently reduced the price down to a more reasonable although still not cheap $8,795. Schnorr was on hand at Lutz's home to personally deliver the new machine. Read more and check out the video after the jump.


Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

Upon receiving his new scooter, Lutz was given a lesson in how it functions from the Vectrix reps and then he set off on some practise runs up and down the driveway. As you can see in the video, he was quite pleased with the new bike. It won't threaten the Ducati in the garage in a race, but its silent operation won't startle the swans in the pond either. Denise Lutz (Bob's wife) seemed just as pleased as he was with the performance of the new bike which will share space in the family garage with 4 Segways.


Bob lutz talks about his new Vectrix electric bike

Currently the Vectrix uses a nickel metal hydride battery that gives it a top speed of about 62mph and a range of 45-60 miles depending on how aggressively you ride it. According to Schnorr, they are currently testing a lithium ion battery which will hopefully be available as an option in 2009. The charging cord sits in a compartment under the seat and the bike can be charged from either 110V or 220V outlets. I asked Schnorr about reports earlier this year that Vectrix was having discussions with Tesla to offer the scooters through the carmaker's stores. Although that could still potentially happen at some point, there are no plans right now. The company came to the conclusion that people coming into a Tesla store were not really likely to be interested in a two-wheeler, even an electric one. Instead they are working on signing up more motorcycle dealers around the country to offer the Vectrix. Several new ones are scheduled to open in the coming weeks, including one in Ann Arbor.

As for the Lutz family's new conveyance, they plan to ship it down to their home in Montserrat and use it for getting around the island.


Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.


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