Vectrix Vx-1 electric scooter gets greener for 2009

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And bluer and maroonier and whiter. Yes, that’s right, the biggest changes for 2009 are the addition of new colors and graphics. But wait, look, there’s also new options: a lower, slimmer, more female-friendly (and lady-like man-friendly we assume) seat; a Sport Windshield that’s seven inches lower and a Winter Windshield that’s nine inches wider. But ignore all that, it’s the new name (can you believe they used to call it the Personal Electric Vehicle?) that’s most interesting. Why? Because it means new models are on the way.
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2009 will see the addition of two new models. First up is the Vx-1e,
basically a cheaper Vx-1 with less oomph from, we’re assuming, less
expensive batteries. Less expensive is a good thing, as the Vx-1
retails for $10,495. There’ll also be a smaller, cheaper Vx-2 with
performance equivalent to a 50cc gasoline engine (say 3-5bhp). Joining
that model will be one with equivalent performance to a 150cc
combustion engine.

The Vectrix Vx-1 has a top speed of 62mph, is highway legal, hits 50mph
in 6.8 seconds and has an average range of 30 to 55 miles on a single
charge. Vectrix now has 160 dealers nationwide, so it’s surprising
they’re not a more common sight on the road. In addition to emitting no
pollutants, the two-wheeled nature of the Vectrix means it’s not
compelled to sit still in traffic, nor cause congestion, making it even
greenier than its four-wheeled electric counterparts.

The reason that the Vx-1 or an electric scooter like it hasn’t caught
on seems to be four-wheeled commuters’ reluctance to accept the good
word of motorcycles into their lives. Meanwhile, disciples of already
pretty frugal bikes and scooters are put off by the combination of
high-price, limited range and poor performance. Deep down, we feel like
there’s a good, important product lurking inside the Vx-1, we guess
battery technology or at least its price point simply isn’t at a level
where that product can come to light. Yet.

Vectrix

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk Urban Rider

    We used to sell the Vectrix in the UK, in fact I had the dubious honour of being the first dealer to put one on the road in the UK.

    I say dubious, because like so many electric vehicles it never quite lived upto its billing. The stated range is so optimistic, when riding in a built up environment the battery meter would show you have 10 miles left but in reality you had 2 miles. We learnt this the hard way when my colleague ran out of power on Waterloo bridge and we had no option but to get it recovered in a van!

    The build quality and ride is exceptional on the Vectrix, but the battery technology is licensed and, as you say, is the weak link.

    Despite the draw backs we would have carried on with Vectrix had these smaller capacity models been on the horizon. The UK MD, Alex Bamberg, was frank in admitting privately that so much cash had been invested in developing the scooter for the Italian market (they like maxi scooters) that smaller capacity versions would be a while. I’m glad they seem to have realised their error and we will see smaller versions.

    Do you know whether it’s a smaller capacity motor in the same chassis? I’d be interested to know if they have spent money developing a physically smaller scooter…

    Their other problem is that from a retailer’s point of view, to be a dealer you sink a lot of cash into stock where the ROI is dubious. They should give it to shops like us on Sale or Return and let the product do the talking. Get people on it and then they have half a chance in this tough economic climate.

    Here are the numbers on Vectrix. Market cap of $200 million on AIM. Global first year sales of only $2 million. I hope they have good profit margins! GULP!!

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes

    I’ve heard similar horror stories about the range and the way they treat dealers. Shame, someone’s got to be able to sell an electric bike in large numbers.

  • Walter Muniz Filho

    I loved! How bus one?