Picture this. A guy leaves his home on what California Vehicle Code (406(a)) defines as a bicycle.
He travels down the hill from his Newport Coast home, pulls into the valet at Pelican Hill, and flips the key to the valet. More than a penny offered for the thoughts of the valet as he witnesses the arrival of a pioneering leader in a personal mobility trend, Ki Nam, president and CEO of T3 Motion.
T3 Powersport is the personal version of the T3 Series of Electric Stand-up Vehicles utilized by law enforcement , security and government agencies. It is a 100 percent electric vehicle, offering clean energy, zero emissions, and an operating cost of less than a penny a mile.
T3 Motion is reversing a trend by manufacturing in Costa Mesa and exporting 50 percent of its business to 30 countries, creating 60-plus green jobs as T3 Motion sources parts locally.
A stand up, 100 percent electric vehicle is, through function and form, a green and sustainable product. I love to get inside the heads of visionaries and entrepreneurial geniuses, and typically find out their giant green decisions are simply good business decisions that are also economically practical.
“What does T3 Motion do to be green and sustainable?” I ask as a softball icebreaker. After a thoughtful pause, clutching an IPad, Nam shares, “We have developed a culture where we do not use much paper here. You get made fun of at meetings if you do. I also tried to get the size of our business cards cut in half, but I got shot down on that one.”
Stepping it up a bit, “Tell me about energy savings in your manufacturing process?”
“We hand build, so it is low energy manufacturing with hand tools, and we push the T3 to the next station,” modestly states Nam.
Confidently, I think I have him on this one, “What is your strategy for ‘End of Life’?”
After another, longer thoughtful pause, Nam says, “We have never had one end.”
Built on an iconic steel frame, all components in T3s are modular. Change the tires, change out a battery and you can place a T3 back in service. The T3 Motion shop had an early unit back from the Port of LA. After adding a low cost lighting system and some touch up love, it was ready for patrol.
The rapid adoption of the T3 Series can be attributed to the accelerated return on a green and sustainable investment, without government subsidies. The visible and iconic design yields a unique impression in proactive crime prevention, where security officers can cover four times the area of a traditional foot patrol.
The T3 Powersport presents an interesting opportunity for Newport Beach. I have talked to many civic leaders on the opportunity and possibility of creating a “green zone” for low speed vehicles (LSV). Electric LSVs offer a sustainable possibility to improve air quality and reduce noise, and they are easier to park, etc. You see many in use down on Balboa Island. Thinking way outside the box, you could register them at City Hall as a way to avoid Sacramento and the dreaded DMV.
But, the challenge in mobility is that LSVs are limited to roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less. So there are boundaries, like PCH, that one cannot cross. Someday Newport Beach may create a “green zone” to facilitate cross-town mobility. Until then, T3 Powersport is considered a bicycle, so those boundaries are not limiting. Provided there is a safe path of travel, the entire city is your oyster for personal mobility. Climb aboard and be swiftly taken for your morning latte, or cruise around the Back Bay.
Ki Nam and T3 Motion answered the age-old question of “how do you know what to do, when you don’t know what to do?” as they entered segments of law enforcement and other markets.
The answer is always to find someone you trust that does know what to do. So T3 Motion reached out to the likes of current Newport Beach resident, former Costa Mesa Chief of Police and current Chief in Beverly Hills, Dave Snowden, also now a T3 Motion board member.
Veterans like Snowden can advise companies and introduce them to thought leaders to help shape vision and penetrate markets.
Nice to see a Newport Beach resident doing well and using his own sustainable product.
Any green thoughts or sustainable stories? [email protected]