Several companies in the business of manufacturing and selling golf car-type (GCT) vehicles have broadened their product line to include electric bikes, or ebikes. Tomberlin was quite prominent in leading the market entry for GCT vehicle manufacturers with its Evoke ebike, designed by William Klehm and his team at eBliss Global. The Evoke and its companion models became the first nationally distributed line of ebikes via a golf car dealer network.
Broadening product line-up to include other emobilty variants
With other OEMs joining in the rush to ebikes, a good question is whether other mobility vehicles could be added to line-up at dealerships across the country. In this regard e-scooters, which come in a variety models, from stand-on to sit-down. Another breed of ebikes, called ebike crossovers are also coming on the market. This latter type incorporate partially or fully-enclosed cabins, thus weatherizing the vehicle and making it suitable for different climes. The crossover ebikes come mainly from Europe. The Veemo pictured here, however, comes from Canada. The company describes its vehicle as a “sit-down, semi-enclosed ebike”.
Another option under rubric of escooters
Another option that might attract buyers is the four-wheel scooter from eWheels, based in Phoenix, AZ. The model shown below, the EW054 has the attractive feature of being partially enclosed with a swept back windshield and roof.
The design offers stability wit the four wheels and features a headlight, comfortable seating, turn signals and side mirrors. Furthermore, it is narrow enough to easily fit in bike lanes.
There are, of course, many other options now on the market in the universe of emobility that could be advantageous for dealer and attractive to the consumer. The advantage to the dealer lies in broadening his or her product offerings to a wider and growing market. The benefit to the customer is a on-stop preview of vehicles he or she may be trying to decide upon.
How might a dealer decide among the many options in which he or she could possibly invest. SVR put together something of a checklist of considerations that might be useful for the dealer either in broadening the product line or refining and making more attractive traditional mainstays; i.e., golf car-type (GCT) vehicles.
Analyzing a market fit—putting the pieces together to create a product line that best matches the local market
The following is a list of elements of the market that should be considered when investing in an expanded emobility product line:
Looking to product features—
• Cabin features: open, partially-enclosed, or fully-enclosed;
• Turn signals/side mirrors;
• Safety features;
• 2-, 3-, or 4-wheels;
• Cargo capacity;
• Passengers or just driver;
• Accessories (i.e., sound system, Bluetooth, etc.)
Local demographics—the customer base—
• Property environment (i.e., suburban, urban, gated, resort, beach, etc.)
• Age distribution of the local populace;
• Family unit—couples, families with children, etc.
• Level of community self-containment; i.e., schools, grocery stores, gym within the community;
• Handicapped population;
• Current driving habits and vehicles used.
Mobility systems in place–
• Privately-owned vehicles, or;
• On-demand fleet services;
• Transportation regulations in effect;
• Degree of road/pathway access;
• Currently allowed emobility vehicles.
All these items would play a role in the choice of an expanded emobility product line. While dealers are familiar with product attributes, the broader aspects of their potential market area may not be, but an assessment of such is critically important. An example of this is given below, the result of an impromptu interview with a man operating the EW-54.
Importance of the age demographic: An impromptu interview
In doing the daily grocery pick-up one evening, the author noticed a nice looking scooter parked conveniently in the supermarket arcade. Noticeable features included a swept back windshield and roof, which partially-enclosed the vehicle, four-wheels, side mirrors, large headlight, and a great metallic red paint job. Standing next to it was a gentleman, who turned out to be the owner, which offered the opportunity of an impromptu interview.
Asking the gentleman, whose name was Bob, why he chose this scooter over the plethora of models available, his answers were compelling and actually led to the list consideration above. First, Bob is probably in his late Sixties or early Seventies. He wanted an efficient, cost-effective way of getting around his community (a spread-out suburb, not a gated community) and was attracted to the possibility of a scooter.
His sons intervened as they could not see their father tooling around in the typical, two-wheeled scooter, or God forbid, an ebike! So they did some research and found the EW-54 from eWheels. Selling points included four wheels for greater stability than a two wheeler, comfortable seating and some protection from the weather. This, plus the other features noted above.
A big part of Bob’s decision to buy the EW-54 was the fact it could be driven on sidewalks and was accesible, because of the narrow width, to community bike paths. Given where he lived and where he needed to go on a routine basis—he said he came to the supermarket almost daily—the vehicle range capability was quite adequate; i.e., no range anxiety.
To top it off, based on State regulations (Florida), the vehicle does not require a license or registration, nor insurance. Talk about a deal! All this for an MSRP of just under $4,500.
A sample of one, but a solid market guide
Although market researchers like to get broad samples to guide marketing and sales decisions. Sometimes very small but convincing samples—here just one—point to an obvious market choice. If you as a dealer are operating in a market environment with a significant percentage of inhabitants in, shall we say, a mature age bracket—and everything else equal—the EW-54 type vehicle offering would seem to be a no-brainer for filling out your product offerings.
Contact the Author: Steve Metzger at email@example.com. Or check out our website at www.smallvehicleresource.com, where you will find an extensive database of vehicle models and can make side-by-side comparisons of vehicles based on a full set of specifications.