Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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."

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 fixed4.05%3.99%
15 yr fixed3.20%3.15%
5/1 ARM3.17%3.13%
30 yr refi4.08%4.01%
15 yr refi3.25%3.20%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,752.10 9.10 0.04%
Nasdaq 5,859.00 -6.95 -0.12%
S&P 500 2,363.38 -2.00 -0.08%
Treasuries 2.41 -0.02 -0.87%
Data as of 10:49am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 24.71 -0.07 -0.28%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 13.98 -0.15 -1.05%
Facebook Inc 135.83 2.11 1.58%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 6.01 -0.07 -1.15%
Williams Companies I... 28.50 -0.37 -1.28%
Data as of 10:34am ET
Sponsors

Sections

The Trump administration may be considering a new way to calculate the U.S. trade deficit and make it look worse as a maneuver to get better trade deals. More

The tech industry wants to distance itself from Trump publicly, but privately it's still working to build bridges to the new administration and Republican Congress. More