IMAGE: FUEL CELL SCOOTER
Vectrix
This prototype scooter by Vectrix Corp. runs on a fuel cell stack that gets a boost from a separate battery pack.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/5/2004 2:59:16 PM ET 2004-11-05T19:59:16

Plans to produce the first consumer-ready fuel cell scooter got a significant boost Thursday when Parker Hannifin Corp., which makes industrial and aerospace systems and products, said it is investing in Vectrix Corp., a maker of electric scooters.

Financial terms were not disclosed but Jonathan Banks, spokesman for the New Bedford, Mass.-based Vectrix, called it "a significant investment.”

Parker’s investment will help Vectrix to begin production of a full-size, low-emission scooter. In March 2003, Parker acquired a 50 percent interest in Vectrix’s fuel cell hybrid patent.

Parker has worked closely with Vectrix over the past two years to develop the Vectrix battery-powered electric scooter, an alternative to gasoline-powered motor scooters.

The partners said the fuel cell/electric hybrid scooter, known as the VX-FCe, is expected to be sold in major cities throughout Europe and the United States "in the next two to three years."

Vectrix was formed in 1996 to develop and commercialize scooters powered by means other than gasoline to eliminate emissions.

Vectrix says the VX-FCe specs include a top speed of around 60 mph, a 155-mile range driving at 25 mph, and 0-30 mph in under 4 seconds.

It also claims the VX-FCe, with an MSRP around $9,000, will be cheaper over its lifetime to operate than a $7,000, 400cc gas-powered motorcycle because of lower fuel, maintenance and insurance costs.

Parker Hannifin, with $7 billion in annual sales, employs more than 48,000 people in 46 countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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