Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors, is one of the investers that chipped in $1.5 millin into Ann Arbor, Mich., based company Current Motor's . Lutz, who also held executive positions with Chrysler, Ford and BMW, will chair Current Motor’s advisory council. Though known for overseeing the development of performance sports cars such as the Dodge Viper, Lutz has become a supporter of electric vehicles, backing the new Chevrolet Volt.
“I’ve dedicated my career to bringing electric vehicles to the mainstream,” says Lutz. “Investing in Current Motor affords the opportunity to work with an exciting start-up that has a great product with significant potential to influence consumer transportation. The Current Motor line of electric motor scooters show tremendous promise and are fun to ride.”
Current Motor’s 2011 lineup includes three vehicles, the Economy C124E (MSRP $6,499), Standard C124 ($6,999) and Deluxe 130 ($7,999). The C124E claims a top speed of 55 mph and a range of 30 miles on a single charge. The C124 offers increased range, estimated at 40 miles. The Deluxe C130 claims a range of 50 miles as well as a higher top speed of 65 mph. Current Motor claims a charge time of 4 hours from a standard household electrical outlet.
The company announced an incentive program for early adopters of electric vehicles. Current Motor is offering a $2,000 discount on its models as part of its “Test Pilot” program. Participants would be tasked with providing real-time public feedback of Current Motor’s electric scooters over a 12-month period on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and the company’s blog.
“Any product goes through an iterative set of improvements over its life, and, given the pace at which new products evolve, many of these improvements take place early on,” says Lutz. “Rather than penalize our early adopters, we want to recognize that they are our most important customers; the Test Pilot program helps us achieve our mission to deliver the best performing and best value electric scooter to the market.
In making the feedback public, Current Motor will be able to develop its products while raising its brand awareness. As an incentive, Current Motor will offer a $2,000 discount from the retail price of its 2011 models. Participants will also receive preferential pricing and priority availability on future products as well as a $300 fee for referring new customers to Current Motor.
“Our Test Pilot program is a completely unique, transparent way for Current Motor to receive critical feedback that will help us ramp up performance and quality quickly,” says Lauren Flanagan, Current Motor board chair and investor. “Current Motor is an early stage manufacturing company; we’re smart enough to know we aren’t perfect and don’t have the resources to go through multiple, costly iterations to achieve that perfection. We’re offering white glove service to our customers and we’re prepared to throw down a glove and share the good, bad and ugly in our quest to build the best value EVs in the world. We also hope to set a new standard for openness and truth in advertising in the electric scooter market.”