Washtenaw County board of commissioners chair Yousef Rabhi pulls in on his scooter. Green high top tennis shoes and a fist that appeared to be still glowing after bumping it with POTUS last Wednesday.
There must be a story behind this scooter that was left behind. Meanwhile the plow works around it clearing yet more snow. [photo]
Editor’s note: The Chronicle first wrote about Current Motor back in April 2009.
On the second day of the recent press preview at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a group of Ann Arborites gathered around a sleek-looking, gleaming blue electric scooter and exchanged banter.
“So, Bob,” says Erik Kauppi, founder and chief engineer of Current Motor, the maker of the scooter. “Are we going to see you tooling around Ann Arbor’s streets on one of these things soon?”
“Bob” is Bob Lutz, the father of the electric Chevy Volt, the sexiest young thing at the auto show – on four wheels, that is. “As soon as the snow is off the highway, I’ll stop by with my checkbook,” Lutz says.
Lutz is now retired from GM, but is far from quitting his advocacy of electric vehicles. He opened up his checkbook last year to Current Motor, becoming an investor in, and adviser to, the company. Just how much did he invest?
“It’s enough to demonstrate a solid interest and small enough so that if this fails I won’t be terribly distressed about it,” Lutz says. “That’s the way I like to invest.” But, he says, the leadership at Current is going about it the right way, so he is confident in their success.
“We need more data, let’s go launch something!” George Albercook of Rocks and Robots was talking about a reconfigured trebuchet beam. He and his colleague Katie Tilton had reinforced a PVC pipe with Kevlar thread, after a failed first attempt at the A2 Mech Shop open house Saturday afternoon.
But Albercook’s enthusiasm for the empirical applies equally well to any number of the enterprises grouped under the umbrella of A2 Mech Shop, LLC, which is housed in around 3,500 square feet of space on Parkland Plaza, just south of Jackson Road. They’ve had the keys since November 2008, and set up in January.
One example of an A2 Mech Shop enterprise is REVolution Electric Vehicles, a subsidiary of Electric Vehicle Manufacturing, which expects to begin producing electric maxi-scooters as soon as July 2009 at a not-yet-finalized Scio Township location. That location will also serve as a retail storefront, explained EVM’s chief engineer, Erik Kauppi, while the A2 Mech Shop space will continue to serve as a research and development facility.
The A2 Mech Shop can be loosely described as a co-working space with shop tools. It encompasses more than just research and development on electric scooters, but that’s where we’ll start.