OU aids hybrid scooter development

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published April 22, 2015

ROCHESTER HILLS — A new hybrid scooter — developed with help from Oakland University market research students — aims to bridge the gap between golf carts and motorcycles for retired baby boomers.

A prototype F2A Berylline scooter debuted, complete with test drives, at the OU INCubator on April 16. Father-and-son development team Dennis and Mike Dresser said the scooter is aimed at people ages 50-60 in retirement communities. The hybrid scooter runs on gas, electricity or a combination of the two.

“It is super easy to ride,” Dennis Dresser said. “The center of gravity is a very important part of this.”

Oakland University graduate students aided the Berylline team with marketing through the OU INCubator.

“We worked with the OU INCubator for a couple of months, collaborating,” Mark Dresser said while demonstrating the scooter at OU’s Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion. 

The INCubator is a joint project of the city of Rochester Hills, Oakland University and the state of Michigan, created with the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Berylline technician Marvin Moore said the highest priority was given to safety when developing the 400-pound scooter.

“It has a big-time braking system,” he said.

The scooter will hit speeds of up to 50 mph when the gas option is used, and it gets 100 miles to the gallon.

“It gives people an option to get off the golf course, and can drive for 160 miles,” Dennis Dresser said. The scooter also features a dual-speaker stereo link to a dash-mounted smartphone support system, a windshield and a removable rear storage trunk. 

INCubator members can set up shop at OU’s Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion and discover what it takes to effectively start up a new business. Member services include applied research and development, business and marketing planning, assistance with loan and grant proposals, and assistance with financing and capital acquisition.

“All our stations here for the OU INCubator can pull on students for help,” said Brian Bierley, OU director of media relations.

Berylline marketing research in 2013 included a partnership with OU Center for Integrated Business Research and Education Consultancy students. The group included an interdisciplinary team of students from information technology, business and marketing disciplines from the school of business administration. Their findings indicated that the highly efficient hybrid scooter could fit into several niche segments.

Berylline also enlisted the assistance of the technology business association Automation Alley and the economic development organization Ann Arbor SPARK to develop and produce its prototype vehicles over the past two years.

The Dressers aim to have the scooter on the market in 2016 for a sales price under $6,000.

“Golf carts are more expensive,” Dennis Dresser said. “They can run up to $25,000.”

Berylline Corp. is based in Troy.

“This is the kind of project you do in the Detroit area,” Dennis Dresser said. “All the tools are here. This was all done in Oakland County.”