As seen on MLive
May 20, 2013
KALAMAZOO, MI – A Fido electric scooter zipping through the streets of Milan, Italy, is what success will look like for Jeb Gast, who is launching Fido Motors LLC at The Reality Factory, located at 213 E. Frank Street in Kalamazoo.
Gast, 35, is one of three entrepreneurs joining a business incubator being launched by Daniel Kastner, the owner of 1977 Mopeds, this year. Kastner relocated his company from San Francisco and convinced Gast, who was running a Vespa shop called Soundspeed Scooters in Seattle, to do the same.
“It’s a brand new company I started in Seattle and I decided to do it out here instead,” said Gast, who moved his family to Kalamazoo last spring for the project. “We built a scooter and we are building two more prototypes and then we’ll start manufacturing them out of Kalamazoo.”
Gast released the first Fido scooter with Fremont Motors, his electric scooter motor company, in 2011. He is now in the process of perfecting the Fido scooter. His goal is to build an electric scooter that is low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly, and easy to charge with a removable, rechargeable battery.
The $4,500 scooter comes with a removable battery pack, which is stored away in the floor compartment, and a supplementary battery pack with backpack straps.
The scooter can go as fast as 45 miles per hour and has a 70-mile range. Gast is working with a company in Taiwan to develop the battery packs and a company in Slovenia to produce the motor.
Gast says he has some clients lined up and expects the scooter will be more popular overseas than in America.
“We’re still ramping up,” he said. “We are finishing the prototypes up and getting tooled up and ready so we can start building them here, hopefully soon. I want to be making more by mid-summer. We have a few clients lined up and we’re seeing the most the interest overseas, in the Netherlands, Italy and France.”
Gast is excited to be part of the Kalamazoo community and said The Kalamazoo Promise was a huge draw, as he has a young child starting kindergarten.
“We were looking to move anywhere that would be more affordable,” he said. “With the Kalamazoo Promise here and the incubator idea, it just seemed like a better place to get moving on a new project liked this.”