ECO Cruzer: Meet Electric Choppers of Oregon

ECO Cruzer: Meet Electric Choppers of Oregon »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - Wherever he rides his electric chopper, Eugene inventor Lance Richards gets a lot of attention.

The early name was the "Electric Woodie," but it's marketing name now is the Electric Choppers of Oregon - or ECO - Cruzer.

"Legally, it's an electrically assisted bicycle, according to state law," Richards said of the ECO Cruzer.

Richards said the idea for the bicycle was born in an energy management class at Lane Community College.

The Cruzer is a bike outfitted with a 16-cell battery pack that can go 20 to 25 miles on a single charge. Pedaling will help you go farther and recharge the battery.

"I want to create effective, dependable, stylish transportation that doesn't use petroleum," he said.

An LCC classmate liked the idea so much, he's backing the project.

"The way gas prices are heading, Eugene is a great platform for this type of vehicle," Matt Heflin said.

Now that the prototype of the electric woodie is set to go, the next step is mass production of the bike. That will happen here at the ABC Tool and Die Shop in West Eugene.

"It's the next-generation opportunity for electrical power to be applied to many different applications," said Andy Sztymelski of ABC Tool and Die Shop.