No its no joke folks.
Braving a near death experience in 2003, Daniel Kim started Lit Motors in early 2010 to "chop a car in half", with a team of just 10 employees.
Their latest venture C-1, an electric mobike is designed keeping in view the comfort of a car and the flamboyance of bikes. Encased in a metal shell with steering wheel and foot pedals, there are two gyroscopes for balance. Although a futuristic technology, the company has already caught the attention of many, with as many as 250 people pre-booking their vehicle for a delivery by 2014 on the company's website.
The design is light weight, almost one-tenth of a car that enables its mass production by keeping the battery size small. The target audience, mostly the youth, will find it attractive to drive this in crowded city traffics easily is what Kim believes is their prime aim to invest in such an untried project.
What Lit Motors is attempting is not a new concept. With concerns growing over environmental issues, the idea of battery-driven electric vehicles is the happening thing in the tech world. Companies like Tesla motors and Aptera Motors have tried their hand at what Mr.Kim is doing currently.
As savvy and environment- friendly it sounds, there are a gamut of problems that have put out many an ambitious firms out of business before. Interestingly, Steve Fambro, the founder of Aptera Motors, that went broke while pioneering this futuristic vehicle, is now on Lit's tech advisory team.
1. Technology : There's a huge mistmatch. The battery technology which has not slow to progress, adds the bulk's share of weight to vehicles and is costly. On the other hand the digital technology has exceeded the parameters of innovation. These two factors combined, have kept most automobile manufacturers to go in for hybrid vehicles working on both gas and electricity.
2. Consumer Base: At the outset, one can dismiss this mobike as a luxury item with a limited market. The company's website plans to sell the vehicle at $24,000 as of 2014 but promises to bring down the price quotient to as low as $14,000 by 2016; similar to a say a Ducati or a Honda-Fit. Adding on to the price tangent are the issues of reliability and maintainence of this high-end vehicle, that's new for the users.
3. Finance: Being a start-up, Lit Motors is facing the archtypal problem of drawing investors to back up their venture. While the initial round of bookings is fairly moderate but unless the order is sufficiently fulfilled, there is really no other avenue of returns for them. The risks are relatively higher. So far Kim has managed to raise a decent $720,000 from investors and another $80,000 from acquaintances for the project to get going. Besides the production costs, advertsing will also be a lion's share of burden to keep up with.
The Team is however quite efficient with lot of self belief. They will be producing an exclusive 1000 vehicles in 2014 for their first batch of customers. The marketing and promotions is already underway, with quite a few innovative ideas in the hat.
The 33-year old Rhode Island design school graduate, Kim has plans to tie up with car dealers in California, San Fransisco and Los Angeles besides marketing online. That's covering some good home base for starts we say! Following this, the firm will offer test drives in college campuses and conventions to get the much anticipated visibility and customer relationships. Taking a cue from the raging social media marketing tactics, they are working to link up smartphone apps for the exclusive owners of the vehicle besides creating groupings on various social media sites.
No doubt its a start-up if you go by the textbook , but its the flagship idea that's surely big and most probably workable if all goes well. We are looking forward to seeing this savvy piece of metal rolling the streets soon.
Do check out this video for more insights.
You can leave us your feedbacks and opinions in the comments section below. Remember to follow us on our Facebook Page and Twitter for such finds.