I bumped into Nathan Jauvits on a San Francisco sidewalk, and was intrigued by his moped, the first home-made electric two-wheeler I’ve run across.  The chassis is based on a ’78 Puch Magnum, but an off-the-shelf electric motor and a power pack built by Nathan transforms the machine into something far from the buzzy, smoky original – an example of which I ‘accidentally’ purchased at the Bonhams Las Vegas auction – that will teach me to gesticulate in the front row!

Dr Nathan Jauvits with his as-yet-unnamed electric Moped. [Paul d’Orleans]
Dr. Jauvits, an engineer for product designers New Deal Design (who packaged the Lytro variable-field camera), also added a regenerative braking system to the moped, which has a range of 20 miles using a high-output motor which no young man could resist (‘It beats all the cars at traffic lights’)…I reckon with a less powerful motor and a lighter throttle hand, more miles could be squeezed out of that battery pack.  The moped, which he’s yet to name, can be plugged in anywhere for a recharge, and he hopes to market a version when the bugs are worked out.

I’d consider this conversion for my Puch Magnum… [Paul d’Orleans]
When I queried him about the safety issues with a completely silent 35+mph moped, he pointed at the speakers atop the battery pack, ‘I let my iTunes announce me’…which is probably beats the open expansion chambers used by Moped Army regulars. The electric moped apparently requires no driver’s license or road registration, falling into the same legal category as the ubiquitous NYC delivery-guy electric bicycles.

Spotted on Valencia St in San Francisco – can’t beat the backdrop! [Paul d’Orleans]
[Editor’s postscript Oct 2021:  Who knew in 2013 that electric mopeds and scooters would overtake our major cities, and sell in their millions in China due to changes in regulation?  Eight years later, small electric scooters are everywhere on the streets of every major city, providing easy, inexpensive, and fun mobility options.  And Dr. Jauvits?  His concept became Monday Motorbikes, which he nurtured for several years before moving on to other electrification projects.

And a reminder, the Vintagent’s first feature story on electric motorcycles was a premier of the world’s first electric superbike, the Mission One designed by Yves Behar, way back in January 2009!]


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of TheVintagent.com. He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and