Over the course of his business career, Bill Lofft has learned from whom to accept advice, how to build a company culture and how business people choose to travel. Such lessons have been useful in establishing Zuum Craft, a North County start-up that offers innovative short-range electric scooters.
At the helm of Zuum Craft, Lofft finds himself a member of a rapidly evolving industry. Though there are many types of electric vehicles on the market, Lofft believes his company’s invention will be wildly popular, he told California State University, San Marcos students April 22 during the “In the Executive's Chair” class.
The Zuumer is an electric scooter that travels at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour and has a 15- to 20-mile range. Unlike other scooters, it allows the rider to “carve” back and forth as if on a surfboard or snowboard.
Its range makes the Zuumer ideal for college and corporate campuses, Lofft said.
“I love riding bicycles, but I’m not getting on a bicycle dressed like this,” Lofft said gesturing toward his suit jacket and collared shirt.
In addition to serving businesspeople needing to travel short distances to business meetings, he expects Zuumers will be popular in beach communities and commuters. A three-mile commute can be traveled on a Zuumer in nine minutes.
Calling the Segway a “colossal failure in the marketplace,” Lofft said he believes the Zuumer has the potential to be a much more popular form of electric transportation.
“The Segway is an engineering answer to a marketing question that was never asked,” Lofft said.
Although the rider must stand up while riding the Zuumer, it is legally classified as an electric bicycle and must travel in the bicycle lane. The vehicle weighs approximately 75 pounds, however Lofft hopes to eventually reduce them to 25 pounds.
The first Zuumers are expected to roll off the assembly line May 4. Initially the scooters will be priced at $2,200 each, or approximately $15,500 for a fleet. However, Lofft expects prices will drop to between $700 and $800 during the first three years. Mass production and continuously falling prices of batteries for electric vehicles will drive down prices.
In addition to serving the transportation needs of commuters, Lofft also sees the potential for municipalities to utilize the Zuumer. Police officers can be seen patrolling on Segways in many communities; the Zuumer can be implemented similarly and for a fraction of the cost, Lofft said.
The Zuumer also is taking its place among a host of electric vehicles at the center of the green movement. Half of all trips made by car in the United States are less than five miles, making such short trips the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Widespread adoption of electric vehicles such as Zuumers would significantly decrease pollution in the country.
Although some will praise the sustainable elements of the Zuumer, Lofft is more keen on the economic advantages of the Zuumer, which boasts the equivalent of 700 miles per gallon.
“I have a very market-driven view,” Lofft said.
VIDEO: Interview with Bill Lofft
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