Zero Emission Electric Vechicle Meets American Roads on Two Wheels
July 30, 2007 ”“ Vol.12 No.19
It may be a few more years before a high-performance all-electric vehicle like the Tesla sports car is available for Joe (or Josephine) Average consumer. At the better part of $100,000 the Tesla is intended for the green-minded well-to-do, not the rest of us.
But if a four wheeled electric vehicle is out of reach, what about one with two?
Now on sale in the US is Italy’s battery electric Vectrix Maxi scooter.
Built from the ground up as an electric vehicle - not a gas engined scooter converted to electric - every engineering consideration seems to have taken into account to build a high performance electric vehicle.
The frame is lightweight aluminum to offset the weight of batteries: the Vectrix uses the nickel metal hydride variety. The frame too allows batteries to be mounted low to keep the center of gravity near the ground.
Perhaps not quite as quick as a mid-sized scooter (and certainly not the range) the Vectrix does compare in other aspects with gas engined scooters of the same wheelbase and power. In performance terms Vectrix says the scooter will compete with those in the 250 - 400 cubic centimeter range.
The specs include a top speed of 62 mph, with zero to 50 in under 7 seconds. Range is 40-60 miles with a maximum range of 68 miles at an average 25 mph. Regenerative braking is included and is an on-board charger. Charging is off a house circuit.
Battery recharging takes about 2 hours, according to the company, and the batteries should last up to 10 years considering 5000 miles each year of driving.
Its electric hub motor is about 27 horsepower (20 kilowatts), again about the same as a mid-sized gas scooter.
Wheelbase is 60 inches and its weight 462 pounds, about a 100 more than a comparable gas scooter.
The price? Deep in company website the figure $11,000 appears. (About twice a gas scooter.) However the scooter has only 250 parts - compared with 2500 for a gas scooter. But who knows, with popularity and increases in production the price could feasibly drop. And fueling costs need to be taken into consideration. Recharging from the grid should barely register on the monthly bill.
The company has made its first sale - to a customer in Pennsylvania - and is in the process of completing a dealership network. Currently, distribution is in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic region, California and South Florida. (Vectrix is looking to expand its dealership network as well.)
The first store is set to open in the company’s US base in Newport, Rhode Island. An engineering and test facility is nearby in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Vectrix Europe is based in Rome, Italy.
Learn more: Vectrix http://www.vectrix.com
Tesla Motors http://www.tesla.com