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📢 Update #18 from Scotsman All-Carbon Fiber Scooter

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The Scotsman All-Carbon Fiber Scooter team just posted.

posted by Emma Wilson

Aug 21, 2021 • 10:14AM PDT

Update #18 - COVID situation in Vietnam

We have a number of the usual product development and production updates but we'd like to dedicate this update to share the difficulties Vietnam is facing as a country, and what it means for our team members and for you. We feel it's important to update everyone on the overall COVID situation here (Vietnam) which unfortunately has finally caught up to us and is starting to materially impact our capabilities.

 

In short, the situation does not currently affect the delivery time of your scooters, but it is a major safety challenge that we felt compelled to share with you.

 

Some quick background on us for those of you who may be unfamiliar. There are some interesting conspiracy theories out there but let us clarify that we are indeed a venture capital-backed startup in Silicon Valley and we have two main offices: 1) our R&D facilities (6 printers) in Milpitas where 30 of our engineers and scientists are - mechanical, optical, robotics, materials, process engineers and 2) Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) where another 150 of our staff are (similar kinds of engineers plus the software team), except they are focused on industrialization, i.e., scaling up our tech and printing and post-processing at high volumes. We also have a small 5-person team in Tokyo since we have a lot of partners there. 

 

Since the start of COVID-19, Vietnam has been doing incredibly well, perhaps one of the best in the world having had less than 40 deaths for the first 18 months of the pandemic. This is pretty extraordinary for a country of nearly 100 million people with a 1300 km border with southern China where the pandemic started. In fact, it was one of few countries in the world that posted a growth in its economy in 2020. That started to change two months ago and has completely changed over the last few days. We went from 6 cases on April 20th to 470 cases on June 20th, and today August 20th, we hit 10,000 cases in a single day. That's over 312,000 cases up from nearly zero in just a few months. See details on WHO here.



Despite efforts to control the virus this is happening because of the inherent vulnerability of a country with a large population (100 million = UK+Canada combined) without antibodies or ready access to vaccines. Currently, vaccination levels are increasing albeit slowly Learn more here and here. It's heartbreaking to see the struggles that families and businesses are facing all across the country. But as an extension of the Scotsman family we think it's important for you to know.


"Vietnam to deploy troops, issues stay-home order as COVID-19 deaths spiral"

"We are asking people to stay where you are, not to go outside. Each home, company, factory should be an anti-virus fort," Pham Duc Hai, deputy head of the city's coronavirus authority, said on Friday." – Reuters (Aug 20, 2021)

 

Vietnam has been on complete lockdown since July 9th and is extended up until September 15th, now with military help. "Complete lockdown" may mean different things depending on where you're from, so we'll explain the current situation in some more detail.

 

The army just moved in to support peaceful and orderly distribution of COVID supplies and other COVID-related response measures.



 

All roads are closed in HCMC, except to emergency medical and military vehicles with military and local police-enforced barricades throughout the city.





Rush hour on Saigon Bridge before the outbreak during sunset after work, back in December 2020 




Now after 6PM curfew:

 



Currently, by order of Directive 16, entries into all neighborhoods have checkpoints which monitor the requirement for people to stay in their homes, and certainly not to leave their neighborhood. Most businesses have been required to be closed to avoid any movement between locations. 

 



What this means for Scotsman product development.

 

"A record surge of Covid-19 infections has forced factories to shut in southern Vietnam, hitting one of the world's busiest manufacturing centres"Financial Times

 

Despite all this, we have been able to keep our facilities running due to the various precautionary steps we had taken in recent months. More on this in the next update since this is getting to be rather long. However there are some difficulties that directly affect Scotsman product development that are now unavoidable. Some of our manufacturing partners, such as our painting partners, have shut down. Even if they were open it would be very difficult to move products to and from these locations; even if we could arrange this, transport of finished products to ports for delivery would be difficult. Fortunately, this lockdown is temporary and will be lifted on September 15, meaning it should not affect Scotsman production and delivery time; we still plan on delivering the first units starting in December this year (2021). We'll continue to refine Scotsman in Milpitas, California, and to prepare for production in Vietnam this fall.

 

Taking a step back, but moving forward: Doing something new (not just crowdfunding) has inherent risks. Robotically automating the additive manufacturing of carbon fiber composite parts is pushing the edge of advanced manufacturing technology to say the least. But doing it in Vietnam so we can scale quickly and efficiently adds yet another dimension of complexity. Throw on a pandemic on top of that takes it to another level of difficulty.

 

But we are a team of overcomers. We have done this in multiple previous companies, product lines, and industries. In many ways, the scale of the challenges here is no different: some are internal, such as failed technical hypotheses, like our difficulty in printing certain carbon fiber wheel designs in the past. Some are external, like macroeconomic factors (trade wars, component shortages) or natural disasters. The worst is when it affects more than just business, but also the safety of the people involved. So we are prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of the people physically building scooters and dedicated to making Scotsman possible. Without them we would have nothing. We had thought we could continue to get by over the last several months but with the severity of the lockdowns (nothing that's typical in the West), we really have no way to avoid these delays.

 

Rest assured however, that Scotsman is in a good place to overcome this. Our parent company, Arevo, has raised a lot of venture capital financing over the last eight years. A recent backing of an additional $25M gives us the time, resources, and most importantly, the belief from top investors, that our technology, team and mission is on the right track.

 

So if there is any doubt, please know that we are confident we will deliver all scooters. We don't just have the fate of 500+ scooters at stake but the chance to transform manufacturing forever and making the world lighter. And that starts with making sure we fulfill our promises and secure the trust of the most important people contributing to this transformation: you, the community of backers. We just need this time to overcome the logistical challenges mentioned above in a way that is responsible and ensures the safety of our team members and their families.

 

Sorry for the super long update; more details in the next update coming soon. Thank you for understanding and patience.

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