Vectrix’s “R Moto” electric superbike was displayed at the EICMA show in Milan. It was designed by Erik Holmen and Rob Brady.
The rMOTO electric superbike concept was developed by ROBRADY design to showcase the technologies and expertise of several of its clients but when the first design sketches were released on the company web site in April, so great was the interest that the project has been given the green light and a prototype is to be constructed for unveiling in January 2006.
In terms of design pedigree, no studio could be more appropriate than ROBRADY which has worked on an array of relevant notable projects such as the Vectrix electric and fuel cell scooters, a number of Segway scooters, Parker Hannifin’s Fuel Cells, regenerative braking systems and on a number of motorcycle designs for various companies. See inside for an exclusive interview with ROBRADY principal, Rob Brady.
The Vectrix VX-1 scooter was the first zero-emissions powered two-wheeler with genuine freeway-friendly performance. Jay Leno owns one. So does Leonardo DiCaprio. The NYPD bought four. Magazine editors and test riders everywhere loved it. Sales should be booming, but Vectrix is finding that fortunes aren't made on green performance alone.
Determined to show the possibilities of electric power, Vectrix followed the VX-1 with the Rob Brady-designed rMoto Electric Superbike at the Milan Show that November. The Superbike was hailed as the vanguard of a brave new world, but the superstar prototype hasn't translated into showroom reality as Vectrix struggles in a shaky market.
Despite high levels of VX-1 customer satisfaction, a flawed distribution strategy coupled with a high retail price and the consumer credit crunch has hindered Vectrix's success. In '08, Michael J. Boyle replaced Andrew MacGowan as CEO and Chairman, dropping the VX-1's $11,000 price by $2250, laying off half the company's workforce and increasing distribution outlets by a staggering 321 percent.
Vectrix didn't give in, introducing a second, entry-level model under the VX-2 label for $5195 and continuing development of its 3W prototype, essentially an electric version of the Piaggio MP3 three-wheeler. Unfortunately, all that work provided only a temporary uptick in sales. Earlier this year, most of the Vectrix staff was laid off, and the few remaining are reportedly preparing bankruptcy paperwork in the event a solution, such as a merger or outright sale, cannot be found.
Still, there's no denying the firm's impact. "The auto industry has proven that even if you invest a billion dollars in a project, it doesn't ensure success," said MacGowan before his departure. "We invested a fraction of that, and look what we've done in the two-wheeled world."