Flux EM1 electric moped: an RVer’s better local ride

Note: This article was originally written for E3 Camping Magazine. To find out more about all the benefits an E3 Camping membership provides, visit e3camping.com.

Matt Brueggeman is an entrepreneur finding success doing what many don’t have the nerve to do: ignore the financial experts and stop pursuing venture capital funding. 

Brueggeman is the co-founder of Flux Mopeds, manufacturer of the Flux EM1, an electric moped that tops out at 38 mph and can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge with an optional second battery installed. 

“We ended up having to bootstrap the whole operation because investors were telling us we needed to go to the big cities and provide mopeds for ride-sharing,” Brueggeman said. “But we knew from our research there was a market in small towns and that people still want to own a vehicle rather than always borrowing one. We have found success with that model of doing our research, talking to people to find out what they want, and then delivering to meet that need.” 

The latest research led to a new market for Flux Mopeds: RVers. Brueggeman found them to be kindred spirits who want to buck the status quo and do things differently, even when everyone around them is telling them they’re a little crazy. 

Flux is looking to serve all RVers, starting with those who own motorhomes and don’t want the hassle and expense of figuring out all the complexities of towing a full-sized vehicle. But even purchasing and owning a moped will come with its set of challenges. 

That’s why Brueggeman decided to offer a “Local Ride Package,” where Flux does all the work and the owner gets to enjoy the ride. 

“Without a car, if an RVer wants to pop out to the store, the question becomes, ‘Do I want to spend time breaking camp or just go without?’ ‘Do I want to drive a 4,000-pound truck a few miles to buy a quart of milk?’ Those are logical questions that often didn’t have a good answer,” Brueggeman said. “Besides your traditional ‘toad,’ there are bicycles, which are fun for exercise but not great for all trips. And golf carts are good for families or hauling supplies but are overkill for individuals and challenging to transport.”

With the Local Ride Package, Flux has figured out the answers most RVers immediately have about electric mopeds: how to haul, how to register, how to charge, and so on.

“We listened, we learned, and we developed Local Ride Packages that completely solve many problems RVers anticipate they will face when trying to purchase a vehicle to get around the campground or for short trips into town,” Brueggeman said. 

Brueggeman is no stranger to seeing things one way and then opening his eyes to something completely different. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, his family had three large SUVs.

“Three SUVs, and there were only three people in our family!” Brueggeman said. “Sure, I used one SUV to haul concrete once, but I also regularly drove it three blocks to see a friend. The SUV was the way I interacted with the outside world.”

But after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Chinese and International Studies, Brueggeman moved to Beijing, China. He discovered that using a huge vehicle for short trips is not the norm everywhere.

“The sheer amount of small electric vehicles on the road was awe-inspiring. My co-founders and I opened Flux because we wanted to explore how small electric vehicles could provide people in the United States with another transportation option,” Brueggeman said. 

And thus, Flux Mopeds was born. Since its founding in 2011, Flux has been adjusting the design and options of its flagship, the EM1. Using an open IP design, they engineered it to meet U.S. market requirements. Seventy-five percent of the EM1’s components are Flux’s intellectual property.

“There are a number of electric mopeds available in China but we determined early on that we could not directly import because of a vastly different culture of quality,” Brueggeman said. “In China, if a bracket breaks, the rider takes it to the guy on the corner to get it fixed. But in the U.S., that’s a serious liability concern. We needed to control our own engineering, which is vital to producing a vehicle upon which our clients can rely. And with over a million miles ridden so far, we are very confident in our product.” 

The EM1 can travel at speeds up to 38 mph. One battery is standard, providing 25 miles of range, but there is space for a second battery to double the range. 

Each battery also can be charged and used separately. Brueggeman said an essential design issue for Flux was making recharging simple. So, the removable lithium-ion batteries plug into a 110 outlet and charge in 3 to 5 hours. With no proprietary charging station, you can plug the batteries into any standard wall outlet or even into the 20-amp plug at your campground pedestal. 

Another change Flux has made over time is to continually improve the EM1’s dashboard, which will soon give a clear digital display on the remaining range based on use. 

However, perhaps the most significant change is Brueggeman and his team putting the total weight of a guarantee behind the EM1. As with most vehicles, the EM1 has a standard warranty. It covers the motor and controller for 3 years. The batteries and charger have a 2-year warranty. 

But beyond the mechanics, there is the Flux Guarantee. 

“We are convinced this is the right solution for many people – especially RVers,” Brueggeman said. “But we also know that RVers get pitched on a lot of products they are told they need. Also, because they are purchasing remotely, some people can have a trust issue. So, we decided to let buyers find out how much an EM1 can make their lives easier by actually using it without financial risk.”

Flux provides a money-back guarantee on the EM1, calculated as seven calendar days from receipt of the unit, which is typically brought right to a buyer’s door via a home delivery service. 

“If someone finds the Flux EM1 doesn’t solve their particular problem, we obviously want to work with them to make the EM1 work for them. But if it isn’t right, they just need to contact us within the seven calendar-day period. We’ll give them their money back and arrange to pick up the vehicle.”

Brueggeman believes the guarantee is unique in the industry, and he’s happy Flux is different. 

That’s why he has strived to make things as easy as possible to purchase, register and use the EM1. 

“I have discovered that RVers like to do a lot of research. I mean, just look at all the online sources where people are talking about the types of rigs they have versus the ones they want and how to narrow that gap!” Brueggeman said, laughing. “But I thought maybe we could just make this one purchase decision simple and do the research for them.”

He noted that people new to mopeds might not know everything involved in ownership, from registration to insurance to hauling. So, Flux takes care of it all.

“We provide packages that are turn-key solutions for short-distance transportation,” Brueggeman said. “RVers are traveling to have an adventure and see the sights. I really want them to just be able to order an EM1, have it delivered, and get out there exploring faster.” 

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