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Boxx begins moped production

The Boxx, a stylish electric moped created by Portland designer/entrepreneur Eric Vaughn, is about to go into mass production next year in Brazil.

Vaughn, who unveiled the Boxx in January at the Portland International Auto Show, has since recruited a Brazilian investor who will also oversee production at his first manufacturing plant there. The plant will be designed to produce 100 mopeds a month, he said, with capacity to double that as needed.

The first 25 mopeds are scheduled for delivery next July, he said by phone from Paris, where he’s showing the Boxx at the Paris Auto Show.

The Boxx resembles a giant upright iMac with wheels, handlebars and seat attached. Vaughn is selling it for $3,995, though he has yet to produce any for sale beyond the four mopeds he displayed at the local auto show.

That hasn’t stopped people from putting down money for the moped.

Vaughn said he has “firm orders” to buy the first 48 Boxxes, and is negotiating to sell another 300 to 400 more to distributors.

He has attracted considerable media attention, including a request to appear on “Good Morning America.” Vaughn said he turned down the national TV show, preferring to talk once he has mopeds coming off the assembly line.

Portland will remain the company’s headquarters and engineering center, Vaughn said. In addition, 55 percent of his components will be made in Oregon, and 18 percent will be derived from Washington and California. The remaining 27 percent will come from overseas, specifically the United Kingdom and India.

Eventually, he’d like to add assembly plants in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

By November, Vaughn said, several managers on contract will become full-time staff in Portland, including a chief operations officer, a chief financial officer, a sales director and engineering director.

A Pike Research report estimated that 17 million electric scooters and motorcycles were sold worldwide last year, primarily in Asia.