Mounting an electric charge
buy or run a second car. He is calling on governments to support electric scooters with incentives.
‘‘There should be a rebate like solar panels. They could also make them cheaper to register, or take off the stamp or import duty, or desig- nate specific scooter lanes, something that will encourage people to use them,’’ he says.
The EVT 168 ($4290) and 4000e ($3995) electric scooters use an electric hub motor that is part of the rear wheel.
Power comes from four sealed batteries which charge overnight from a 240-volt power point.
These 50km/h scooters are restricted from expressways and highways, but there is no such restriction on the biggest electric scooter, the Vectrix maxi scooter, which costs $13,950 and requires a motorcycle licence. It uses a nickel metal hydride battery pack with an estimated life of up to 10 years based on 8000km a year.
Vectrix Scooters Australia managing director Charles Mann says they had sold about 150 in the past year, but do a lot more rentals than sales.
The Vectrix is made in Poland with Italian components and American electronics. Mann says they will add smaller and cheaper models in the next 12 months and confirms Vectrix is considering a retro-fit hydrogen fuel cell that would quadruple range. A ROUND-THE-BLOCK ride reveals so much about an electric scooter. First and foremost, there is no noise, so drivers and even pedestrians won’t know you are coming.
It feels weird to be moving through the traffic but making no noise. It’s also fun.
I rode the Nope J50 Neo which has a modern appeal and the Retro, which looks identical to a classic Vespa except for the control box in place of an exhaust pipe. Both have a 1500-watt DC brushless electric motor in the rear wheel hub.
The scooter will hit 40km/h in about 12 seconds and in another couple of seconds it hits its maximum of 45km/h. That’s on level ground with my 75kg on board and no head or tail wind.
It takes about eight hours to fully charge one and it has only 50-70km of range.
Apart from the lack of noise and range, it’s like most scooters: the small wheels and short suspension don’t cope well with potholes or grooves; there is plenty of luggage space under the seat for small shopping excursions; and with the motor in the rear wheel the rear brakes have more effect than the fronts.
When you activate the brakes, the motor immediately stops working and you coast to a silent stop.
Samson claims electric scooters require almost no maintenance apart from charging, brake pads and tyres.
‘‘It’s as reliable as a fridge,’’ he says.