Scooters generally aren't the transport method of choice for the executive market, but Peter Vullings hopes to change that with his latest invention.
He’s formed a company – V-Electric Ltd – and is developing the prototype for a production model for a hand-crafted luxury electric scooter to be manufactured here and sold around the world.
Vullings (who divides his time between creating games for iPhones and Android phones through his company Pixelthis and preparing blueprints for inventions that he sells to US-based Intellectual Ventures) started with an adult sized scooter from TradeMe and sourced a motor and batteries from China.
He then built a wooden box to house the electric components and then fashioned wooden body around it. The electric motor sits in the middle of the rear wheel. The next step is to attach lights, indicators and mirrors and have it approved for road use.
The scooter can travel at speeds up to 40km/h and the battery lasts about 60 kilometres before it needs to be charged, at a cost of 20 cents overnight.
They'll have a timber finish, hand-stitched natural leather and top quality components.
“It’s the scooter version of a luxury yacht."
When he goes into production at the end of 2013, building about 50 hand crafted scooters a year, he plans to sell them to the luxury yacht market. When the craft arrive at an exclusive mooring around the world, the owners will then use the scooters to explore the area.
“The appearance will be quite retro. They’ll be top of the range, fully customised with the best electric technology and hand built by craftspeople who still know how to work with wood,” he says.
The scooter won the Innovate Manawatu Awards earlier this year, but long term, Vullings wants to design and develop a wide range of luxury electric vehicles. A mobility scooter, a motorcycle and a three-wheeled vehicle with weather protection are on the cards.
By 2018 he hopes to be producing 200 hand-crafted luxury vehicles annually from his Palmerston North base and generating revenues of $4 million per year.
“The vision is that one day V-Electrics will be the ‘Aston Martin’ of electric scooters.”