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Sanyo to Manufacture Electric Bikes with Entrepreneur Bricklin

February 11, 1996

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin _ who brought the ill-fated Yugo car to America _ has recruited Sanyo to build electric bicycles that he hopes to sell through car dealers nationwide.

Bricklin, former Hughes Aircraft CEO Malcolm R. Currie and Sanyo North America Corp. President Motoharu Iue announced the alliance Saturday at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention, where Bricklin and Currie were recruiting car dealers for their Electric Bicycle Co.

``This is strategically a natural fit for Sanyo,″ Iue said through an interpreter. ``We already have a bike, an electric vehicle, on the market in Japan.″

He said Sanyo’s Japanese electric bike is a utility vehicle while EBC’s will be aimed at the recreational market.

The Japanese electronics and consumer products company will build EBC bikes at a plant in Tijuana, Mexico. Currie, who was undersecretary of defense in the Nixon and Ford administrations and is chairman of EBC, said the company hopes to recruit 400-500 car dealers to sell the bicycle, called the EV Warrior.

The Warrior looks like a mountain bike with a plastic box behind the seat that extends over the top of the back wheel. Inside the box are two 24-volt electric motors powered by two rechargeable 12-volt lead acid batteries. The hardware weighs about 30 pounds.

The motors are activated by an accelerator thumb switch on the handle bar, and quickly take the bike to speeds of up to 20 mph if the rider peddles, or 15 mph without pedaling.

Prices range from about $1,400 to $1,900.

For international markets such as China, ``we have on the drawing boards different bicycles that will bring down the cost,″ Currie said.

Sanyo also is developing a nickel-cadmium battery for the Warrior that will shorten the minimum charging time to about 30 minutes instead of 3 1/2 hours.

Currie said Sanyo will start building bikes next month. In the meantime, EBC will start selling Warriors produced at a factory in California.

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