OU Inc. and Beryline develop new electric scooter


Photo courtesy of Brian Bierley

OU and Beryline Corporation are working to create a hybrid electric scooter.

Electric cars are all the rage lately, and Oakland University and Beryline Corporation took advantage of the trend by beginning  work on a new hybrid electric scooter.

Beryline’s project originally started 10 years ago with the first scooter sketch.  Now, the company has been involved with OU Incubator for the past 5 years. 

This led to the OU Inc. Smartzone, which allows for collaboration between Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a university and a city. The OU Inc. SmartZoner is one of 21 smartzones in Michigan. 

“Our mission is to help high tech startups get established and grow in Michigan — so that our economy is diversified, as opposed to just being automotive,” said Stephan Kent, manager and client strategist of SmartZone Development at OU. “The reason for the high tech is because in general, if you’re high tech, you pay high wages.” 

This partnership allows Beryline to receive start-up funds and the help of engineering students at OU In turn, OU students gain experience and a client to work with in the future. Working through OU also saves Beryline money as the space they provide is significantly lower in cost than other places. 

“It’s a fantastic, great program, even with the future development of other products after this,” President of Beryline Dennis Dresser said. “Eventually, if we can do well, we’d certainly like to get into small delivery vehicles… I think we will always kind of have a spot at Oakland University in terms of working with them, and working with the talent pool there, it’s been great.”

Beryline chose hybrid scooters because of the versatility it has to offer. The rider can decide if they want to use the electric battery for short distances or if they want to use gas for longer distances. That combination has been the goal since the beginning.

The scooter design is three wheels with a wide stance so it mirrors how you drive a car. The target audience of the scooter is coastal areas and for ages 50 to 55, but Beryline also hopes for some college students to be interested in the scooters. 

Since the project has been developed, the cost, capacity and size of batteries have been increased, making it more desirable to a wider audience. Right now, the scooter has about a 50 mile range and Beryline hopes to increase that to a 100 mile range with the help of OU Inc.

“Right now, all of our activity in terms of actually moving forward on this is really going to be in the electric area,” Dresser said. “Trying to double the capacity for the patterns as they continue to get smaller and less costly. Then I think we could have two or three batteries in these scooters that you could probably get 100 mile range.” 

With OU’s goal of community involvement, OU Inc. generates a lot of that connection  by working with so many clients and helping build students’ portfolios in the process.In OU Inc.’s  last biannual report, OU helped their clients generate $7.7 million. 

Beryline comes with a lot of background information in the automotive industry. To get a project like hybrid or electric scooters off the ground, proximity to Detroit is the best opportunity for the company.

The goal is to sell 50 to 100 of the scooters by the end of the year with most of their advertising and marketing being directed at baby boomers in the south.

“I think you’re gonna see more of this kind of vehicle… There is definitely a trend moving in that direction,” Dresser said.