Bob Lutz backs electric scooters

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Bob Lutz has joined a group of investors who’ve supplied Michigan-based Current Motor with $250,000 in capital. The investment is part of the $1.5 million the company hopes to raise in its Series A round of financing. Maximum Bob’s involvement seems somewhat odd given his passion for performance vehicles and Current Motor’s current range of anonymous electric scoots, so we reached out to the company to find out what’s up. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Bob’s the more handsome of the two young men in this photo.

Photo: Richard Prince

“Bob Lutz, myself and the other Series A Preferred investors including the State of Michigan’s PreSeed Fund believe that Current Motor, with its promising technology and vertically integrated production model, can become a large and profitable company,” explains Lauren Flanagan. Flanagan was named a “Top 25 Angels in Tech” investor by Business Week.

“There is a huge market opportunity for EVs as gas prices rise and consumers demand greener transportation solutions as well as a growing market for electric scooters, especially for urban commuters. Current Motor fills the unmet need for practical, affordable, zero-emission electric motorcycles. Current Motor positions itself as the best value electric scooter option, meaning best performance for the best price.

“Bob Lutz chairs Current Motor’s Advisory Council. I chair Current Motor’s Board of Directors.”

Current’s current range is composed of three modest scoots that are assembled in Ann Arbor, Michigan from a mixture of Chines and US-sourced parts. The creatively named “Standard” model retails for $6,499, has a range of 40 miles and a top speed of 55mph. Not terribly exciting stuff when products like the Brammo Empulse are on the horizon. Lauren tells us an electric moped is planned for next year.

“Current Motor’s market positioning is best value and best service,” Lauren told us this morning. “The company offers white glove service to its customers, with direct sales, in-home delivery and support while the Company is growing a distribution channel that meets the needs of its target customers.”

“Current Motor scooters will deeply integrate smartphone functionality and location-based applications. You may want to look at one of my other investments, TrafficCast International, supplier of real-time traffic information to Google, Yahoo, Tom-Tom and a host of others to get a sense of my commitment to the LBA market.”

Bob’s involvement is remarkable because his career in the auto industry is remarkable. Always known as something of a loose cannon, that top photo was taken after Bob ran his mouth at a press conference, challenging anyone there to a race. I accepted and the 78-year-old took me to school using a Cadillac CTS-V. He also coined the term “Ultimate Driving Machine” while at BMW and is largely responsible for GM’s recent product renaissance. Bob owns and flies his own fighter jet, he’s known to use it to buzz the offices of rival auto manufacturers.

Lutz’s interest in green technology is a recent development. Back when the Chevy Volt was just a glimmer in GM’s eye, he famously stated, “global warming is a crock of shit.”

With no significant product news, the takeaway from this is that we could soon speak of Current Motor in the same breath as companies like Mission, Brammo and Zero.

Current Motor

  • ike6116

    Off topic but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of Grant.

    • Wes Siler

      There’s one on the last page of Expedition: Labrador.

      • Grant Ray

        I’m the one not wearing go-go boots.

        • Ray

          Why do you think people become photographers? To remain behind the camera…

          • Wes Siler

            Are you saying Grant’s got a face for photography?

  • Mark D

    $250,000 in capital? That’s a couple tanks of fuel for that jet.

    Jealousy of Lutz’s pile of money he no doubt swims in aside, I bet there are some very happy employees in Michigan right now. Those scoots look like office chairs on wheels; but with some tax-break help, the price could be right for a lot of people who never thought they’d find themselves on two wheels.

  • Brammofan

    I like the looks of those scoots, but would worry about all the cheap Chinese-made electric scooters that I’ve been reading about. The “white glove service” must be amazing.

  • Kurt

    From a business perspective, it doesn’t matter whether global warming is a crock of shit, all that matters is whether it’s perceived as such, and I think business is going to be good.

  • rohorn

    Considering the wild success of Vectrix…

  • rohorn

    This approach also reminds of Lee Iacocca and the “eBike” electric bike.

  • R.Sallee

    Pretty sure you can believe global warming to be a crock and still recognize a demand for transport that doesn’t use expensive, limited, foreign oil.

  • tears

    That pic is from the CTS challenge a while back, right?