Saturday, April 9, 2011

Malaguti name already licensing in the EV business, but investors still have not heard back from Italy

So I just got an email from Germany pointing out that there are already companies working with Malaguti on the Ebike field before the whole collapse.

This was a licensing deal that proved to be profitable for both companies.

This side of the business has potential and is still profitable, yet they abandoned it. To focus of all things on selling more scooters to 16 year olds since they didn't want to invest in more Maxi scoots (which is the most profitable side of the business in Italy and Europe) so instead of focusing on making a new version of the 500cc to compete with the BV 500 or the TMax they decided to continue with the same stuff they had 10 years ago. Malaguti according to my German source abandoned the R&D with Ducati to focus on the low end bikes. A mistake given gas is headed for $150 a barrel worldwide. Clearly a mistake because fortune favors the bold or in this case those looking at the EV future of Europe.

The Malaguti E-bike is a JV in Germany and you can see a clip here.

Easily a product the new management could export to bring back the brand.

Will Emilia-Romagna move at the speed needed to save the company?
Does anyone in Italy have what it takes to save the brand? or should all the Italians just hand over the keys to China as they watch all production in the country go to pasta and exporting cheese?

The Hybrid concept which is something Honda is already working on is the the right way to go. Below is a picture of the Malaguti Moto Ciak hybrid. It had a 50cc four stroke engine as well as a battery engine working side by side. The gas powered engine would kick in at speeds above 25mph and charge the batteries, but at slow speeds or when in an urban area it would operate purely on the batteries. Makes perfect sense for real world applications and for commuters that will be driving in areas where they can't charge every single minute of the day. Think about it, the biggest problem with EV bikes is you could end up stranded because the infrastructure doesn't exist or you might forget to charge the battery.

The engine was in a 1.400W system but could easily have been upgraded to a 2500w. It could plug in and charge on any 220V hookup or been adapted for foreign markets. The addition of the gas engine took it from a 20KM full force range to 150Km. There's also been some big advances in the year and half since the project was abandoned by Malaguti, Ducati, and CF MOTO. There is no telling what could be done with this design given new battery tech. Retail was a little under 2.500€.

Seems like Italy is just a downward spiral where everything is just getting outsourced to Romania, Moldova, or Asia and then they stamp "made in Italy" on it. From luxury clothing like La Perla to Polini products in Italy have an Italian name, but less gets produced there everyday.

Someone in Italy needs to wake up and push to save the few iconic brands that are left that are still made in Italy. One hint it won't be Silvio....

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