A surprising story about the use case for electric mopeds
By Gary S. Vasilash
Matt Brueggeman says that when he was growing up in suburban Chicago, his family had three Chevy Tahoes. He acknowledges that they were good vehicles. But he also admits that it occurred to him that the Tahoe wasn’t the most efficient vehicle to transport a single person to, say, go visit a nearby friend or to go pickup a carton of milk.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied Chinese, he moved to Beijing for six years.
While there the absurdity of the Tahoe really became evident to him, as he watched people riding on electric mopeds.
When he returned to Madison he and his colleagues decided to start a company to allow people to sensibly take local trips. Brueggeman is the co-founder and CEO of Flux Mopeds.
With time, research and development they came up with the Flux EM1. It is an electric moped that has a limited range—50 miles on two batteries. A limited top speed—38 mph. A limited capacity—300 pounds.
It also has a comparatively limited MSRP: $2,400.
And on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Brueggeman talks about how the vehicle came to be and how it is doing in the market. He talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, John Beltz Snyder of Autoblog Green and me.
Brueggeman explains that while the mopeds are produced in China there was extensive engineering developed in the U.S. He says that while the owner of a moped in China can get a broken part fixed by a corner repair shop, that’s not the case in the U.S., so they’ve engineered the units to be as robust and reliable as possible.
He says that the company is keeping its costs down by not selling through dealerships and not carrying inventory: it is build to order.
And while you might think that this is a vehicle that would be on college campuses or being ridden in downtowns by urban hipsters, Brueggeman says that the big market for the company is. . .RV owners. (Why tow a car when you can stick an EM1 on the back?)
If you’re interested in micromobility, you’ve got to watch this show. Right here.