In a telling confluence of events, the Boston Globe recently reported on Ford’s all-time worst financial quarter while just a few newspaper pages away, a Rhode Island electric scooter company celebrated a tenfold expansion in its business.
The common ingredient, of course, is high gas prices. Ford’s truck- and SUV-heavy American operations are scrambling to take cues from its more fuel-efficient European lineup. The company lost $8.7 billion in this past financial quarter. The effort to refocus on less-guzzling cars may come too late – U.S. plants won’t be set up to crank out these new car models until 2010.
Meanwhile, Vectrix Corp. of Middletown, R.I. has exploded from 5 to 50 nationwide dealers in the past 100 days. Their Vectrix electric scooter gets the equivalent of 357 miles per gallon, has a 30 to 55 mile range per charge, and fully charges in 2 to 3 hours. The company estimates an operating cost of 1 cent per mile – which I assume only considers electricity expenses.
With a top-speed of about 62 miles per hour and its highway certification, the Vectrix looks to be a viable commute alternative. The $8,795 price tag is pretty steep but, as technology improves, battery capacities increase, prices drop, and recharging stations emerge, ultra-efficient electric vehicles such as these will give Big Auto a serious run for its money.