Let's just say Vectrix has filed for bankruptcy one time for each wheel on its battery-electric scooters. This time, though, it's Chapter 7, Boston Business Journal reports, citing bankruptcy court filings. Since that usually involves liquidation, it's safe to say that the company's number is finally up.

The company was founded in 1996 and appeared to be getting some traction (as well as a fair amount of coverage) about a decade later. That's because, in mid-2007, Vectrix started selling its electric maxi-scooter in Europe and, later in the year, word came that the New York Police Department would start giving Vectrix scooters a trial run sometime in 2008. That year, the electric scooter was used as a pace-setter at the Boston Marathon, heavy stuff for a Massachusetts-based startup.

Still, the company filed for Chapter 11 in 2009, citing the recession-spurred financing crunch and the inability for potential consumers to get loans for scooter purchases. The company reorganized and by 2011 was unveiling its VX-2 urban-commuter scooter, which had a top speed of 30 miles per hour and a single-charge range of as far as 55 miles. Too bad the company didn't have enough charge to go any further.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have over 15,000 miles on my 2008 Vectrix VX-1. With the Li-ion battery upgrade it runs better than new. I've already gotten my money's worth of riding and it keeps on going, and going, and going... no gas, no oil changes, minimal maintenance. They did a good job on the bike. danfred311 - the Speedster looks nice. You can promote your cool car without insulting folks that prefer two-wheelers.
        AndY1
        • 1 Year Ago
        I still have 2007 VX1, running on NiMH battery, 16.000km done and as good as new.
      Jim
      • 1 Year Ago
      No surprise here. An "urban scooter" that requires a parking space electric plug is a non-starter to most urban dwellers. The only feature that will drive higher urban scooter sales is a unit with a lightweight removable battery that can be lugged up to your apartment every night for easy charging. Until such a battery exists, look for sales in this segment to go nowhere.
        protomech
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim
        Urban dweller here. I own a Zero S, I live in an apartment without easy access to 120V plugs, I charge at work. As problems go, it's pretty minor. 120V plugs are very common, and I've very rarely had someone say "no" when asked. Zero sold an XU bike in 2013, now discontinued. It had one or two removable modules, 42 pounds each for about 35 miles of city riding. Lugging one of these around would be a last-resort effort ... but I don't need 35 miles of range in typical daily use. Batteries for electric-assist pedal bikes are much easier to lug around, typically 5-7 pounds for 20-30 miles of pedal-assisted range.
        Joe Acerbic
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim
        Funny coincidence: Vectrix had just developed a model with a removable battery, the VT-1, but never got to selling it.
        Conspiracy theory
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim
        Maybe in 2080 there will be battery packs light enough to carry with you AND provide sufficient range in a scooter. Really what will happen long before that is rapid charging. Range or a home with a plug won't be an issue with readily available rapid charging.
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The first time I saw a prototype Vectrix V-1 Maxi-scooter, I thought "damn, that's one sexy, terrific looking bike". After meeting with the founders, including brilliant pioneer EV engineer, Dr Wolfgang Gohl, I was eager to be an investor when the company sought listing on the London Stock exchange. I also started buying a sizeable number of V-1's to use as resort hire vehicles, etc. These were the heady, early days of EV development , unfortunately, the euphoria didn't last long. Vectrix did gain some very loyal and enthusiastic supporters. (mostly people who didn't own a V1, but were were politically or ideologically enthralled). So what went wrong ? How did this company, with seemingly the right product, at the right time, burn through nearly $1,000,000,000 and only sell 2400 scooters, before declaring bankruptcy ? IMO, there were four main reasons for the failure of Vectrix. 1) The product was misconceived. This wasn't apparent when the product was designed, but a 270 lb+ bike is just too heavy for female riders. The range was inadequate as a cruiser, and too large for an urban ride-about. 2) Poor build quality. The choice of NiMH batteries was always a problem. The NiMH batteries were not only very heavy, but the early BMS and electronics proved unreliable, while the batteries consistently developed faults. The bikes many brilliant engineering features made the V1, complex to understand and operate. The lack of service infrastructure was evident, and the bike performance seldom matched it's looks. The V1 developed a reputation for unreliability, no service, overheating, and disappointing performance. 3) Too expensive. 4) Appallingly bad management. Vectrix hired a CEO who completely hoodwinked the majority of investors as to his competence. He was the complete opposite of Elon Musk ! Vast sums were wasted on the trappings of " a corporate lifestyle ", the extravagance of which would have shocked a movie studio tycoon of the golden era of Hollywood ! Despite the determined efforts of a minority of shareholders to depose the CEO, and his minions, his removal came too late to save the company. The service plan was always logistically unworkable, from the beginning, but the megalomaniac CEO refused to listen to Dr Wolfgang Gohl and his band of loyal engineers. Vectrix 2 was created by the battery supplier, Gold Peak of Hong Kong, largely to extricate GP from a number of law suits, involving battery warranty claims. The Vectrix V1 was an heroic, if ultimately tragic, (and betrayed) first attempt at producing a volume selling EV. It paved the way for much better two and four wheel products. The V1 proved that EV's could look good, and showcased the many advantages of EV technology. Even it's failures became valuable lessons for the next generation of EV pioneers. Vale Vectrix !
        EVnerdGene
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marco Polo
        "unreliability, no service, overheating, and disappointing performance" NiMH batteries. "the right product, at the right time" ? NiMH were the best there were in the late 1990's (at a reasonable price). I drove one while Parker Hannifin was still involved. The reverse/regen throttle was pretty cool. Now BMW has one. 'Pioneers get slaughtered, while the settlers make the profits.' IMbrutally-honestO: I always had heartburn with it being an effeminate-looking maxi-scooter. I'd pay more for something that looks like a motorcycle.
          DarylMc
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Hi EVnerdGene Did Parker Hannifin pull out? Did they avoid the fallout of this enterprise? I was well read on the Vectrix when it came out. At the time I was hoping wheel motors would be the next big thing but accepted they were looking for more power. Just to add an opinion, I was never keen on their idea to go for a maxi scooter format but I suppose they had their reasons just like Tesla didn't start with vehicles at the bottom of the market. To this day no one has released a quality version of the electric scooters numbering in the hundreds of millions running around China. That and the fact that the big 4 Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have come up with absolutely nothing shows that it is not an easy task.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          @ EVnerdGene There's a PRC manufacturer, who makes Harley-Davidson, Triumph, etc lookalikes, as EV's. They look really good, but perform badly. There's also a Japanese coach builder who will produce you a very good H-D EV lookalike, with great performance, acceptable range, and very reliable, but the cost is in the $60,000 + range.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          "Yamaha unveils EC-03 electric scooter Yamaha intends to lead electric motorcycle segment by 2020" also google "Honda Neo" I go to Japan often. Yamaha and Panasonic electric pedElec bikes are very common, and have been for well over a decade. It is really weird to see electric bikes sold in stores next to washing machines. Hey, but they are appliances; not status symbol toys for the greenNerds like in the US. J will have a competition-smashing electric motorcycle when they feel the market is ripe.
          DarylMc
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Hi EVnerdGene The fact that the Japanese haven't brought out an electric bike yet still says to me that it is quite a difficult task. I really did expect that there would be a market for electric scooters like the Chinese ones but a bit better quality by now.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          @DarylMc Sorry, but I don't know or don't remember the details of PH's involvement and timelines in this. Japanese involvement in EV motorcycles and scooters. I certainly wouldn't say it was too difficult for them. Just look at the Prius - an engineering masterpiece and complexity that boggles my mind for such a reasonable price. I know Honda and Yamaha have had several relatively limited-production models of scooters. Shrewd. They will hit the world-wide market with an electric scooter, and then motorcycles; when they can offer a product that will not embarrass themselves in the world market; and that makes sense financially - both for their customers and their shareholders - not before.
        DarylMc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Hi Marcopolo Thanks for adding some information about the Vectrix. I was expecting and waiting for it. The company spent over $400K per scooter? I hope your partner realises just what a good shopper you are:)
      jebibudala
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd think there would be a market for this sort of thing. It did seem kinda steep at over $3,500... Heck, they could have gone the route of 3 x SLA deep cycle batteries, a golf cart controller, and a PERM132 or equiv motor to get 100 miles per charge no issues going up to 45mph.
        DarylMc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jebibudala
        Hi jebibdala Would your opinion change if you knew the price of a Vectrix VX1 new in Australia 2009 was $16K? Not sure what they sold for in the USA. http://www.bikepoint.com.au/reviews/2009/scooters/vectrix/vectrix-maxi-scooter/vectrix-vx1-electric-scooter-15804
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      When will the dullards understand that two wheels beyond dirt cheap bicycle is wrong. Sub 1k$ or go home. Zero, brammo, mission, lightning. All just money pits for old fools with too much money. 2 wheels does not matter. Stop doing it dummies. Do this instead www.zev.dk/design/Speedster.jpg That would change the world and is easily doable. If you can't see how, ASK ME.
        EVnerdGene
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        OK Dan, I'll bite. How would it "change the world" ? How is it "easily doable" ? Projected selling price ? Investment required until breakeven ?
          danfred311
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          The price is stated in the picture. If you didn't pick up on that then I probably can't tell you details.
          danfred311
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          A smart man could get to production for 1 million dollars. Kit car style production, fiberglass on metal. Simple off the shelf double wishbone suspension. Carrying two people takes very little strength thus low weight thus easy to accelerate fast thus cheap thus appealing thus successful. Simple logic.. Overall superior to a Tesla Roadster at less than quarter price. And profitable unlike Tesla which lost 100k on each one. You can grow the company on investment rather than profit thus building value in the company much like Tesla did. A car with that performance at that price will hurt the established sluggish minds at Porsche, Lotus, Ferrari etc costing virtually nothing to drive with little maintenance. Its main weakness is that the Lotus Elise size is rather small. I might raise the suspension 5cm compared to Lotus/Tesla
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Dan Normally, the more you invest up-front (like in volume tooling), and the higher your volume, the less your per unit cost. Tesla was a good example. They spent well north of $200M to get the Roadster in production; relatively soft tooling, relatively low volume, relatively high price - and still lost money on each one. I don't see how even a smarter man could do it for $1M and be "superior to a Tesla Roadster at less than quarter price." But, hey, when you can sell me the "superior to a Tesla Roadster at less than quarter price" sign me up. I'm sure Marco will want one also.
        Ricardo Gozinya
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        Women that hot don't go for rides in cars that ugly unless they're being paid to.
      Jorge Pinto
      • 1 Year Ago
      Funny how no one mentions, and I'm sure this was just one among many other errors, the +40M$ spent on developing a Fuel-Cell Vectrix... Yep, somebody thought "it would be nice to have an hidrogen can at hundreds of bars between my legs as I'm being hit by an oblivious socker-mom SUV". I wonder in what measure did that program drained the success chances of the VX-1/2/3 development roadmap... The VX1-Li+ product was attracting huge interest... the price point, at the end of 2008, was not far from what Brammo is asking for today, so that wasn't an issue. Another case of "fuel-cell promises" ending an otherwise good company, if you ask me.
      Ricardo Gozinya
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too expensive for a scooter. There's just no way to justify that in anybody's mind. It's the primary reason electric motorcycles aren't a bigger sales success. They're selling budget bikes at boutique prices. The Empulse R is nicely equipped, but you'll still get more bang for your buck from a lot of other bikes at half the price. I think that's why Tesla is succeeding as well as it is. Their vehicle is in the upper end luxury market, so potential buyers expect it to be expensive, and it is roughly in line with its ICE competition. Brammo, Zero and Vectrix can't say the same.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is this about the US division? What about the company in Europe? I am/was really looking forward to the VT-1. It looked great and had all the specs I was looking forward to. Finally a 100kph scooter with removable batteries!
      porosavuporo
      • 1 Year Ago
      These pictures look very similar http://www.bmw-motorrad.com/com/en/urban_mobility/k18/urban-mobility_c-evolution.html
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