Zapp to launch electric motorbike in Europe next fall

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Zapp to launch electric motorbike in Europe next fall

- British-based Zapp Scooters plans to begin selling its new electric two wheeler in Europe next fall and early next year in the United States, the company said on Wednesday, as the electric motorbike segment grows increasingly crowded.

Founded by Thai entrepreneur Tony Posawatz, a former investment banker now based in the UK, four-year-old Zapp is going to market with a build-to-order business model, according Swin Chatsuwan, a Zapp investor and adviser who was formerly with General Motors Co.

The launch edition of the Thai-built i 300 will cost $8,995 with a standard model priced at $7,495.

A key competitor, the battery-powered Vespa Elettrica, starts at $7,449. Vespa is owned by Piaggio C SpA.

This is not your father's Vespa, said Posawatz, who once headed the GM's electric car program and has advised startups from Lucid Group Inc to Inrix.

In stark contrast to the much lower salient, decades-old Vespa, which was popularized by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the 1953 film of American movies has Audrey Holiday and Roman Holiday. The Zapp i 300 sports a post-modern design and such features as a swapable Lithium Ion Battery Pack.

The newcomer faces stiff competition from more than two dozen companies, most of them in China and India, the world's two largest markets for two-wheelers. Among the more popular rivals: China-based Gogoro and Taiwan's Niu Technologies.

Zapp hopes its competitive model - order your car online, specify its features and have it delivered to you door - will help it cut through the retail thicket.

The company also plans to use corporate resellers in some markets and may sell directly to authorized customers.