Land ho!

By Jonathan Blum


Tom Gamso didn't get into the ground transportation business until his yacht-building firm went south. As early as 2007, Atlas Boat Works, which mainly built fiberglass pleasure motorboats in its Cape Coral, Fla., factory, began to suffer from the economic downturn. By 2008 Gamso's annual revenue had fallen to less than $1 million, from $1.6 million in 2004, when he had 10 employees. As fuel prices spiked, Gamso, 54, wondered if he could turn his expertise to dry-land transportation.

With a bit of research, Gamso found a sophisticated, readily available supply chain for parts and systems to make electric-powered vehicles. Although four-wheel vehicles were expensive to assemble, he found that three-wheel cars -- ideal for short commutes -- could be built economically.

So, factoring in Florida's large elderly communities and the state's level terrain and good weather, Gamso saw a window of opportunity to sell a stylish battery-powered three-wheeler with a top speed of 50 mph and a 33-mile range in city traffic. The unit simply needs to be plugged in at night.

Gamso managed to build a working prototype for less than $20,000. In late 2008 his company released its first Tryckle (pronounced trickle). The three-wheeler sells for just $10,000, plus the cost of a donor bike (any registered motorcycle with a straight frame will do).

Making it is simple: Gamso strips the bike and loads it with an electric motor, batteries, a controller and a charger. Then he incorporates the motorcycle's original lights, horn, signals and switches. Finally he adds his signature fiberglass design to create a Tryckle, which looks like a cross between an Italian sports car and a golf cart.

"There is nothing exotic about the Tryckle at all," says Gamso. "It's not nearly as sophisticated as many of the boats we've built. But if you live close to work and where you live is sunny, there's no reason not to ride one of these things."

Although at press time the company had sold exactly two production Tryckles, Gamso isn't discouraged. He gets a steady stream of e-mail from retirees in gated communities and businesses looking for a marketing platform, and he's currently developing a simple roof for the three-wheeler. For now, it's a great revenue stream to supplement his boat business.

"If I sell one or sell 100," he says, "it's still a home run."

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Questions & Answers



QHow does a florist sell more in this economy? We changed our business to designing weddings and events only, as the everyday flowers are not selling. We had to throw out too much product at the end of the week -- flowers are perishable! More
Get Answer
- The Flower Lady, Suwanee, Ga.
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.36%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.39%3.26%
5/1 ARM3.36%3.27%
30 yr refi4.34%4.22%
15 yr refi3.38%3.24%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 8:39pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
Sponsors

Sections

Spencer has been a supporting member of the "Good Morning America" cast for the past three years. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella's Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.