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Electric Currents

Same Passion, Same Mission, New Vision

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FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESK

As 2014 draws to a close and 2015 is only a few days away, I want to share with you my vision for EV World moving forward. Much of what I am about to tell you remains very much in a formative stage, some of it no more than scribbles on a notepad and some exploratory conversations, but I can tell you I am very excited about the possibilities and the future.

Let me take you back more than a decade when I first started mulling over the idea. At the time, I had begun selling electric bicycles online in collaboration with Ron DeFatta's Total EV group in Dallas, then a unit of electric utility CSW. That first year, we sold $10,000 worth of merchandise, a modest but promising start. Then American Electric Power bought CSW and ordered Total EV to liquidate its inventory, effectively cutting off my supply of product. Because Ron was pretty much the only US eBike distributor at the time, I had to turn off the online store, but I never totally abandoned the idea of someday relaunching a light EV World store.

Now I am determined to deliberately, intelligently move on that dream. The time is right to do this: for the market and for me personally. As you may have noticed, I've started focusing more of my editorial attention on this growing EV world niche. In addition to several dedicated web sites that are in development, including ePEDAL.me, I also now have Twitter, Flickr, and Pinterest accounts set up that are devoted to the eBike marketspace.

This year I had the opportunity to extensively ride and evaluate the Haibike Xduro, which won the Best E-Bike of the Year award at Interbike in Las Vegas this past September, and the A2B Ferber. Determined to gauge the local market, I let quite a few others ride them as well, especially the A2B. Their reactions where revelatory. People are not only surprised by the experience, but delighted by it. You cannot believe how many told me they've been thinking about buying one so they can bike to work. And this is Omaha, Nebraska we're talking about, not California or Colorado.

While I won't belabor you with the details...just yet, anyway... I can say that you are going to see some significant changes talking place on EV World.com as I begin its transition from a strictly information-focused online publication to one that is more e-commerce oriented. I am going to devote more of my time and energy to launching ePEDALER, our electric bicycle rental startup here in Omaha where, I am pleased to report, the idea is being received with encouraging words of support from both the local business community and within city government. My game plan is to bootstrap a pilot rental program with perhaps a half dozen electric bicycles to determine public interest and work out the business mechanics and pricing model. My goal is to be up and running by mid-April in time for the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder weekend. By the end of June and the conclusion of the NCAA College World Series, I should know, one way or the other, if ePEDALER is going to be a success or not. I really anticipate it will be based on the reactions of people who have ridden these wonderfully practical light EVs.

Assuming the ePEDALER pilot is successful, I see it laying the foundation for that original EV World dream: a real world, brick & mortar presence where the emphasis is on customer experience. Think Apple Store meets Tesla Motors showroom and you'll get a sense of what I am shooting for. Further assuming the economics justify the investment in a physical facility, a significant portion of it will be dedicated to customer engagement and digital media production: instructional videos, industry interviews, electronic newsletters. It pretty much is what I am already doing right now, but hopefully by then it will be with the assistance of an eager crew of young people who are as excited about the world of light electric vehicles as I am.

There is much more I want to share with you in the coming year, starting with "Project Zeus", but I'll save that story for another time; and just take this opportunity to wish you and yours a truly joyous Holiday Season and a fulfilling New Year. Thank you for your loyalty and kind financial support. And, of course, if you'd like to learn more or even play a role in some fashion in this exciting enterprise, you can always reach me at editor@evworld.com.

Until next time, stay plugged into EVWorld...

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